This article was published on February 10, 2015 in Hospitality News Philippines’ print edition. For updated analysis and intelligence affecting the hotel industry, subscribe a copy through link
In the convention of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Educators of the Philippines (COHREP) in Baguio City in January, CHED Commissioner Maria Cynthia Rose B. Bautista’s keynote address, delivered by CHED Director Amy Biglete, stated that “human resource development has been a major factor in achieving global competitiveness.” She said that for this reason, some countries—such as South Korea—reorganized their education and training sector and brought into line their educational system to a “lifelong learning and competency-based paradigm.”
The Philippines has started such paradigm shift, referred to as outcomes-based education (OBE), in which the focus is not on the teacher or the expert, but on the learners; not on content or instruction, but on the outcomes.
In a nutshell, CHED defines OBE as “an approach that focuses and organizes the educational system around what is essential for all learners to know, value, and be able to do to achieve the desired level of competence.” With OBE, there will be an “appropriate assessment of student performance.”
Why is there a need to define the desired outcomes from students, specifically for hospitality and tourism disciplines? In a presentation, Our Lady of Fatima University dean and professor Ignacio C. Cordova Jr. explained it’s for compliance to the CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 46 series 2012, for quality assurance, for internationalization of program offerings, and in preparation for ASEAN integration in 2015.
Based on the CHED CMO titled Policy-Standard to Enhance Quality Assurance (QA) in Philippine Higher Education through an Outcomes-Based and Typology-Based QA, there’s an expected facilitation of free flow of qualified labor in the region once the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 is finally realized. Member states are gradually implementing the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for tourism professionals to make this happen.
OBE will not only make it easier for students and workers to move across ASEAN for employment, but more importantly it will raise the quality of education in the country, said Bautista.
OBE at present
CHED revealed that there’s an ongoing revision of standards, policies and guidelines of tourism and HRM curricula that have considered the ASEAN MRA, the requirements of the national policy on educational qualifications called Philippine Qualifications Framework, and inputs of other government agencies, academics and industry.
It said BS Hospitality Management and BS Tourism Management are two of the programs set for “ladderization” in line with ASEAN MRA. (Ladderized programs are specialized programs that allow students to progress between vocational and college courses.) It likewise collaborated with a private sector advocacy group, Philippine Business for Education, asking relevant industry practitioners and CEOs “to identify the much-needed competencies (e.g. soft skills seem to figure significantly) in parallel with the Technical Committees” doing the revision.
Biglete briefly said during the convention that a new memorandum on revised curricula based on OBE, including a standard template, for all disciplines will come out anytime this February, with target implementation in June 2015 onward.
Meanwhile, COHREP current president Dr. Rowena P. Sagaysay saw the appropriateness of OBE, noting the focus is “more on the output of what the students have learned.” She said the assessment results would both display students’ understanding on learning concepts and how students utilized data provided, developing “critical thinking and creativity” among them.
Challenges of OBE
Yet readiness of both faculty and students is a challenge posed by the paradigm shift, according to her. She confessed being “pressed with time with the updating of curriculum and course offering with [these] new directives” but has to make do with current resources and “be as creative in designing course outcomes and assessments.”
Educators Rizalie C. Salvacion of Rizal Memorial Colleges and Manolito D. Villarin of Cebu Technological University couldn’t agree more. Salvacion cited the incapability of some schools to provide the facilities and lack of training of teachers “to deliver the outcomes-based as to competency- and project-based evaluation,” while Villarin spoke of the challenges in syllabus preparation and delivery in general.
Training is likewise a key factor, Dr. Sagaysay said, underscoring the need for brainstorming sessions and collaboration among teachers and administrators involved in OBE implementation.
The paradigm shift though doesn’t mean a lost faith in the current curriculum to produce competent graduates. “We do have successful graduates of the program. Remember, we are also graduates of this,” reminded Dr. Sagaysay, stressing that data was just not readily available during their time. She adds what’s important are how faculty facilitate learning and how students use data provided to them. —Lorela U. Sandoval