Speech by Ambassador Bill Tweddell at the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Signing Ceremony in support of Senior High School under K to 12
1 December 2015, 1:30 pm
DepEd Complex, Pasig City
• Secretary Brother Armin Luistro, Department of Education (DepEd)
• The Honourable Oscar Moreno, Cagayan de Oro Mayor and League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) National Chairperson
• The Honourable Belen Fernandez, Dagupan City Mayor and LCP Focal Mayor for City LEADERS Coalition Project
• Dr Steven Rood, Country Representative, The Asia Foundation and our valuable partner
• Our distinguished local chief executives who have come from different parts of the country
• Friends and colleagues
On behalf of the Australian Government, I would like to extend my congratulations to DepEd and to the League of Cities for signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for senior high school. Congratulations also to the Mayors of the 21 cities who have committed to support the intentions of this partnership. It signals the start of a promising and meaningful collaboration that can only lead to one thing: better education outcomes for Filipinos. Thank you for allowing us to share this occasion with you.
As Secretary Armin is aware, and I am very glad he is here today, Australia firmly supports the Philippines’ K to 12 reform agenda. Our two countries believe that K to 12 has far-reaching benefits for the Philippines. Senior high school students will be better prepared for tertiary education. They will be more competitive when seeking employment either here or abroad. This is critical in an era of globalisation and particularly relevant for the Philippines as ASEAN countries move towards economic integration.
One of Australia’s largest aid programs is the Basic Education Sector Transformation Program or BEST which supports DepEd at the national level. Another one of our programs is the Coalitions for Change, or CfC, which works at the sub-national level. CfC is an innovative program that we implement in partnership with The Asia Foundation. I would like to acknowledge an outstanding colleague, Dr Steve Rood, for his commitment to both CfC and to our collaboration.
K to 12 is a huge endeavour that requires concerted effort. This is particularly true for the Senior High School (SHS) implementation that provides high school students with field specialisations in preparation for tertiary education, employment or entrepreneurship. By 2016, an estimated 1 million public senior high school students will come from cities alone. As the number of students increases, the resources required are expected to grow significantly. Local governments, especially cities, have such a critical role to play in the successful implementation of K to 12.
I commend the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), headed by Mayor Herbert Bautista, and the city governments, for their involvement in Senior High School (SHS). We laud your commitment to work with DepEd and the private sector to invest in the needs of senior high school.
I am impressed that in less than 6 months, over Php 1 billion worth of resources have been leveraged for senior high school against local government revenues. What makes it more impressive is that these resources are anchored on sound investment plans drawn up in collaboration with DepEd and other local stakeholders, including industries and the private sector.
These are impressive achievements. We look forward to more success stories in the future. With DepEd’s steadfastness, and more local governments committed to SHS, it is a bright future indeed for Filipino students.