Donning stylish Filipiniana and Barong Tagalog, top government officials led by Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles graced the grand celebration of the seven years of high-impact research work by the PNU-based Philippine National Research Center for Teacher Quality (RCTQ) on August 29 at the PNU Alumni Hall.

Photo with Australian Ambassador and Sec. Briones and Sec. Nograles

The event also marked the renewal of PNU’s partnership with the University of New England (UNE) Australia, its partner in establishing the RCTQ in 2012 with support from the Australian Government.

“In seven years, RCTQ has successfully conducted high-impact applied research on teacher quality in the Philippines resulting in the national adoption and implementation of the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST),” said Dr. Ma. Antoinette C. Montealegre, officer-in-charge of the PNU Office of the President, in her welcome message. “Our coming together supports not only the objective of RCTQ but also provides the direction in policy studies that will have far-reaching impact on education in the country.”

Dr. Montealegre signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on behalf of PNU, while UNE was represented by Professor Michael Wilmore, Dean of the UNE Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education. The MOA provides for a two-year extension of the technical assistance from UNE on undertaking research that will inform education policies in the Philippines.

In his message, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Mr. Steven J. Robinson AO said he is proud that “Australia is part of RCTQ’s journey right from the beginning.”

“Australia and the Philippine governments share a strong commitment to evidence-based policy. And this has been an important feature of our education cooperation,” Mr. Robinson said.

“As Australia enters a new phase of our long-standing partnership with RCTQ, I am absolutely confident that it will continue to provide valuable evidence and advice to DepEd, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and to universities and schools across the country building on the successes over the past 7 years,” Ambassador Robinson added.

In his Twitter account, Mr. Robinson said teaching is close to his heart and was very pleased to grace the RCTQ celebration.

In her speech, Sec. Briones commended RCTQ for its assistance to DepEd.

“I’m so pleased that there is an institution exclusively focusing on research in education,” Sec. Briones said.  “We cannot have quality education or quality learners without quality teachers, and this is what RCTQ is all about.”

Briones, who was joined by DepEd undersecretaries Jesus Mateo and Nepomuceno Malaluan, also thanked RCTQ for its active involvement and advice on DepEd’s plan to transform the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP).

For his part, Sec. Nograles expressed his commitment to ‘institutionalizing the reforms that RCTQ has started.’

“Now that this government has widely opened up access to education to include higher education, the next step is for us to find ways to improve the quality of education,” Sec. Nograles said.

In his speech, he said the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Teacher Quality under his watch will ensure that i) the budget required to push for teacher quality is secured; ii) that the inter-agency approach to improving teacher quality is in place, and iii) that the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) is transformed. RCTQ has been assisting DepEd in transforming NEAP since last year.

“It is indeed very overwhelming to see all the knowledge products which show how much RCTQ has done for the past seven years,” Sec. Nograles remarked.

Watch Sec. Nograles’ celebratory toast in the video below.

Discussions between Australia and the Philippines began in 2011 where they jointly identified applied research on teacher quality as a priority area for cooperation. This led to the partnership between PNU and UNE, and the establishment of RCTQ in 2012.

Sec. Briones with RCTQ Director Dr. Gina Gonong and UNE-SiMERR Director Dr. John Pegg.

The program concluded with directors Dr. Gina Gonong and Professor John Pegg acknowledging and thanking key partners including DepEd, the Australian Government, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), presidents of National Network of Normal Schools (3NS), and the Office of the Cabinet Secretary.