COCOPEA Holds National Congress: Collaboration Key to Education Reform

July 04, 2024

The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) held its National Congress on July 1-2, 2024, at the SMX Aura Convention Center. Themed "Leading Educational Frontiers Together," the congress brought together over 400 delegates from private schools across the Philippines to discuss pressing issues and chart a path forward for Philippine education. The federation, following rotational leadership is presently led by the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).
Day 1: Charting the Course
CEAP President Fr. Albert N. Delvo opened the event, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in navigating the evolving educational landscape. He highlighted challenges like the impact of AI, foreign influence, and the need for a stronger voice for private education in the Philippines.
The keynote forum featured Congressman Mark O. Go, Chair of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, Cong. Roman T. Romulo, Chair of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, and Dir. El Cid Castillo, Executive Director for Qualifications and Standards Office, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Their discussion focused on the private sector's vital role in ensuring quality higher education, equitable access, and continuous improvement. Congressman Go presented proposed legislative measures, including the creation of a tripartite council to address unemployment, a voucher system for underprivileged students, and strengthening public-private partnerships in education.
Building on the theme of collaboration, Congressman Roman T. Romulo, Chair of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, advocated for the expansion of the voucher system and the creation of a dedicated bureau for private basic education agencies.
TESDA Executive Director El Cid Castillo concluded Day 1 by underlining the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in empowering Filipinos for the industrial age, guided by the six strategic pillars of the National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan (NTESDP).
Dr. Karol Mark Yee, EDCOM 2 Executive Director, presented their Year 1 report on Philippine education, highlighting significant challenges and proposing steps for private schools to help resolve the learning crisis. He urged private schools to offer region-specific programs, collaborate with DepEd to align teacher specialization and conduct research to tackle learning poverty. Additionally, he recommended understanding PISA performance issues, supporting early education nutrition and literacy, mapping private schools, participating in teacher education surveys, applying for the EDCOM 2 - Ateneo Research Fellowship, and partnering for volunteer and internship opportunities.
Day 2: Building Bridges
The second day focused on fostering collaboration between public and private schools. Experts explored strategies for maximizing the strengths of both sectors, emphasizing the need for increased investment, student safety, and transparency.
Senator Win Gatchalian stressed the need for graduates with creative thinking skills and called for a revamped Senior High School curriculum aligned with industry needs to prepare students for the job market.
The final session highlighted the importance of partnerships between educational institutions and businesses. Experts discussed future job market trends, with growth expected in high-skilled fields like healthcare, science, technology, and engineering. E-commerce was also identified as a growth area, creating opportunities in warehousing and online marketing. Collaboration between schools and businesses was emphasized as key to preparing students for this evolving job landscape.
The 2024 COCOPEA National Congress was overseen by COCOPEA Chairperson and CEAP President Fr. Albert N. Delvo, with Br. Edmundo L. Fernandez, FSC, serving as the Program Design Committee Chairperson and supported by CEAP National Secretariat led by Executive Director Mr. Jose Allan I. Arellano.
The congress highlighted that through unified efforts, both public and private institutions can foster a more efficient and fair educational landscape to benefit Filipino students.
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