“Today, I will be carrying on in finishing what he [Luistro] started in the major education reform in the country, even as I add my own vision, perspectives and iniatives in finishing this,” Briones said on Monday, July 4, during the DepEd’s ceremonial turnover at the DepEd Central Office, Pasig City.
Briones supports the implementation of the K to 12 program and cited that the former educational system in the country used since the 1940s must be enhanced and that now is the “time for change”.
“Ako mismo, I want to continue it [K to 12 program]. But of course, I have to give my own contributions,” Briones said.
Briones pledged to continually monitor and assess the progress of the Senior High School program, in terms of learning outcomes and access.
Furthermore, the department is due to submit the 2017 budget, a task which Briones considers as formidable. The new Secretary is determined to make this budget reflect not only the national objectives of the Duterte Administration, but also the specific priorities of DepEd.
After reformulating the Department’s budget, Briones said that the next thing to focus on is hastening and streamlining the procurement process. Also, Briones said that the processes and procedures in the department will be efficient, and the financing will be prudent and economical.
Briones is also committed to ensuring that there will be sufficient teachers, school buildings, computer kits, textbooks and school supplies.
Expansion of education interventions
The new DepEd Secretary shares the same advocacy with Luistro when it comes to the Alternative Learning System (ALS). She is committed to further expand this education intervention during her term.
“My passion for ALS is shaped not only by my faith, but also by the advocacies of Social Watch Philippines, as well as my own life experiences,” Briones said.
During the war, then three-year-old Briones witnessed efforts from groups and even families who went the extra mile to gather children and teach them how to read and write. With this experience, Briones knew that “one can get educated, even without proper schooling and catch up with those in the formal education system”.
In order to fulfill her priorities and achieve her objectives, Briones acknowledged that she needs the support of the whole education department and other education stakeholders. “I cannot do it alone. No one person can finish reforms alone.”
Briones is a Professor Emeritus at the University of the Philippines. She had previously served as Lead Covenor of Social Watch Philippines, National Treasurer of the Republic of the Philippines, Secretary of the Commission on Audit (COA), Vice President for Planning and Finance of the University of the Philippines System, and Chair of the Board of Siliman University.