The author shares a learning moment with a KCFI beneficiary in the 0-8 age groupKCFI president and executive director Rina Lopez shares her thoughts on the state of education in the Philippines via her new column, Knowledge + Beyond
The Knowledge Channel Foundation (KCFI) is turning 22 this year. This is the age when many of our youth graduate from college. As such I consider this another milestone year, looking back at 21 years of working and learning and going out into the world to continue learning—but with an earnestness to do so even more strategically and an eagerness to collaborate with more partners who are committed to make a difference in the educational system in the country.
KCFI started simply as an educational TV channel on SKYcable focusing on Grades 1-10. But it has grown to become a provider of video lessons for the formal PK-12 and the Alternative Learning System learners and their teachers in media and technologies accessible by them, on-air, online and offline all over the country and the world. It has in the last few years a growing emphasis on the 0- to 8-year-old children.
Recent international benchmarking tests in reading, math and science have shown the poor performance of Filipino children in Grades 4 and 5, and 15-year-olds where the Philippines ranks at the bottom. As learning is cumulative, these test results show the lack of foundational skills in these subjects. We are, as the World Bank puts it, in a learning crisis.
Averting the learning crisis
In a recent study by the Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality, and Relevant Education or SEQuReEducationMovt, a group of education experts led by Prof. Leezl Campoamor-Olegario, they recommended that one of the ways to avert the learning crisis was to encourage learners to watch video lessons on TV, specifically mentioning Knowledge Channel.
Acknowledging the need for education leaders, teachers and even parents to continue learning to teach children especially with new pedagogies and technologies, KCFI has also always conducted trainings and even now includes the more effective coaching and mentoring.
What started as a corporate social responsibility arm of one company has now become a capacity-building resource for the whole country. The millennials that we started out teaching in 1999 are now the teachers and parents of children from the next generation, Gen Z. Changing with the times is a must. And yet many Filipinos still have no access to the technologies needed to learn today as has been made so apparent by this pandemic and the ensuing distance learning modalities.
My three takeaways after 21 years at KCFI are to focus on programs that would have greater and lasting impact:
1. Focus on 0- to 8-year-old children holistically as this is the time when their brains develop the fastest and the time when they most need responsive care, nutrition, health, social protection and early stimulation for learning.
2. Building the capacity of caregivers and teachers is most critical.
3. Educational videos for children and their teachers and caregivers are a more sustainable learning resource especially with the current effects of climate change and pandemics.
We cannot ignore the learning crisis in our country. We all are being called to help our children live better lives. We are all being called to come together, to collaborate and give them and our country a fighting chance. Join us. Contribute to the Knowledge Channel Foundation and create more video lessons and train more teachers and parents. (Story/Photos by: Rina Lopez)