As the curtains draw on 2023, RCTQ—now on its eleventh year—stands at the forefront of transformative initiatives aimed at enhancing educational outcomes and uplifting the teaching profession across the Philippines. Working with both the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), RCTQ’s journey throughout the year has been marked by synergy and unwavering commitment.

This article offers a glimpse into the center’s key contributions and engagements, highlighting its role in shaping the landscape of teacher development and education quality.

VP Sara Duterte delivers DepEd’s Basic Education Report 2023 before the country’s education stakeholders at the Sofitel Plaza Hotel.

The year commenced with a spotlight on RCTQ during the first Basic Education Report of DepEd. Citing RCTQ’s studies, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte underscored the pivotal role of teachers to emphasize the imperative of supporting this vital workforce. VP Duterte acknowledged the many challenges faced by DepEd, including the need to “focus on upscaling the knowledge and capacities of teachers as public servants.” Philippine Normal University (PNU) President Dr. Bert J. Tuga and concurrent Vice President for Academics and RCTQ Director Dr. Jennie V. Jocson joined other education and international development leaders in a video that would serve as a prelude to Duterte’s report.

Improving teacher quality in the Bangsamoro region

Participants of the validation activity for BARMM Higher Ed Teacher Development project outputs on 19-20 January 2023. Photo credit: Dr. Byron Silk-Go

The year started with RCTQ completing its Teacher Development in Higher Education in the BARMM project under the Australia-supported Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao (Pathways) program. The project, done in collaboration with the Directorate General for Higher Education, consisted of three components: (1) Curriculum Quality Audit (CQA), (2) Development of a Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) Review Program, and (3) Review of existing majors/ subjects on early childhood education and a study on developing a new or enhancing an existing major subject to increase focus on preparatory and kindergarten instructions. RCTQ invited teacher education institution (TEI) partners from Mindanao to validate the outputs of the three components that were mostly accomplished in the previous year.

Teachers at the Taviran Elementary School in Maguindanao del Norte receive their needs assessment survey forms from the Schools Division of Maguindanao II. RCTQ worked with the Directorate General for Madaris Education (DGME) in assessing the professional development needs of a total of 3,721 Islamic Studies and Arabic language (ISAL) teachers in public and private madaris and K to 3 teachers in private madaris in the BARMM to inform the bases for identifying, planning, designing and implementing learning and development (L&D) interventions for ISAL/madaris teachers across the Bangsamoro region.

RCTQ continued to work on another teacher development project under Pathways—the Learning Resource (LR) and Learning and Development (L&D) Systems Trial to Support Teacher Development in Madrasah Education (ISAL Teachers). Over 5,000 Islamic Studies and Arabic Language (ISAL) teachers in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will now have better access to relevant professional development materials, thanks to the series of training activities that capacitated their education leaders to create and implement realistic, responsive and research-based professional development plans for ISAL educators.

A needs assessment survey on the professional development needs of madaris teachers was participated in by 3,721 survey respondents, the results of which were used as inputs for a series of training on L&D systems. This resulted in RCTQ’s conduct of a training of trainers (TOT) on integrating socio-emotional learning (SEL) in the teaching practice of ISAL educators.

Workshop participants on professional development planning conducted on 17-19 May 2023 in Cotabato City.

Education program specialists and madaris education leaders at the Bangsamoro Directorate General for Madaris Education (DGME) were capacitated on various L&D subsystems including the L&D professional development program planning, L&D program designing, and professional development (PD) program resource package development.

As part of RCTQ’s extended engagement, the center introduced the concept of learning progression to MBHTE and partner TEIs through a training which enabled participants to learn ways of supporting learners as they progress through a sequence of interconnected and hierarchical steps in the learning process. In a parallel activity, academic leaders from nine TEIs TEIs were trained by RCTQ on CQA as they took a significant step towards improving the quality of their respective teacher education programs.

During the third quarter, RCTQ presented the accomplishments of its Teacher Development in Madrasah Education project to the MBHTE and its three director generals, namely, DG  Tahir G. Nalg of the Directorate General for Madaris Education, DG Marjuni Maddi of the Directorate General for Higher Education, and DG Abdullah Salik Jr of the Directorate General for Basic Education.

RCTQ Director Dr. Jennie Jocson and Co-Director Dr. John Pegg lead the training of trainers on the national rollout of the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) Professional Leaming Packages (PLPs) for Science, Mathematics, and English/Reading teachers held in Cebu City on 5-8 June 2023.

New projects with DepEd

During the middle of the year, RCTQ collaborated with the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) in capacitating a core team of DepEd trainers who led the national rollout of the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) Professional Leaming Packages (PLPs) for Science, Mathematics, and English/Reading teachers. The development and national rollout of these learning packages was part of DepEd’s and RCTQ’s shared response to the findings from a series of international assessments showing poor performance of Filipino learners. The training supported public school teachers in performing pedagogy and assessment practices that promote HOTS in Grades 7 to 10.

As the year unfolded, RCTQ embarked on new partnerships with DepEd, including providing assistance to the DepEd’s curriculum and teaching strand in developing teaching resources that were used in the implementation of the National Learning Camp (NLC). The NLC was designed both to help improve learning outcomes and support teachers so they can teach better.

RCTQ was also tapped by DepEd to undertake a study that will help develop a new education policy on school organizational structure and staffing standards (SOSSS).

DepEd forged another partnership with RCTQ on enhancing teacher support systems for the MATATAG Curriculum. The primary objectives of the project are (1) the development of teacher support materials with student worksheets; and (2) conduct and monitoring of the pilot implementation geared to inform the refinement of the learning materials for the revised curriculum. The data gathered during this process will play a crucial role in informing the refinement of learning materials tailored for the revised curriculum.

In the DepEd National Capital Region, the Schools Division of Quezon City partnered with RCTQ for the training of teachers on the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) framework. A series of SOLO workshops were facilitated by RCTQ in February and April 2023 for a total of 150 master teachers to enhance their understanding of the SOLO model which they can use to assess learning outcomes and to develop higher-order thinking among learners.


RCTQ Director Dr. Jennie Jocson joined other academics and educational leaders in forming the Standing Committee for Higher Education, and Teacher Education and Development of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2). RCTQ Co-Director and SiMERR National Research Centre Director Dr. John Pegg, on the other hand, became a resource person of EDCOM 2 when he presented the status of teacher quality in the country and offered recommendations to improve teacher development during a consultation meeting by the Commission.

RCTQ staff are joined by PNU officials led by President Bert J. Tuga during the RITQ summit on 18 November 2023 in Bulacan.

Becoming an institute

The year culminated with RCTQ embracing transformation, setting its sights on becoming the Research Institute for Teacher Quality (RITQ). This strategic move, supported by PNU and the University of New England, reflects a commitment to elevating RCTQ’s impact and influence within the educational landscape. At a summit that discussed in detail the center’s transition to RITQ, reappointed PNU President Dr. Bert J. Tuga reaffirmed his commitment to bring the current RCTQ to greater heights with the integration of RITQ in the new PNU organizational structure.

Making a stand on PISA 2022

This December, in the wake of the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results, which underscore the educational underachievement of 15-year-old Filipino students in mathematics, reading, and science compared to their global counterparts, RCTQ issued a statement calling for urgent national attention and collective action to address the crisis. With no country having achieved quick fixes in learning, RCTQ stresses the importance of allowing sufficient time for research-based improvements to take effect and show impact, and for proposed solutions to seamlessly integrate with existing reforms. Read the full statement here.

In retrospect, 2023 has been a year of resilience, innovation, and collaboration for RCTQ. The center’s unwavering dedication to teacher quality and evidence-based education reforms positions it as a catalyst for positive change in the Philippine education sector. As RCTQ evolves into RITQ, a more advanced organizational structure and stronger mandate will hopefully bring about more research impact and influence, making quality education more accessible to Filipino learners. (RCTQ Comms)
As the curtains draw on 2023, RCTQ—now on its eleventh year—stands at the forefront of transformative initiatives aimed at enhancing educational outcomes and uplifting the teaching profession across the Philippines. Working with both the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE),...