Makati Mayor Abigail Binay said the exceptional performance of Benigno Ninoy Aquino High School (BNAHS) in the 2022 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) was largely a result of the city’s investments in innovative and inclusive learning interventions before and during the pandemic.
BNAHS, the only Makati public school selected to participate in the international test, was the lone public school in Metro Manila to pass Level 2.
“Considering that there had been no face-to-face classes for over two years when the test was conducted, this achievement speaks volumes of the success of Makati’s innovative and inclusive programs for our public school students,” Binay said.
Prior to the pandemic, Makati City had invested P31 million for the full implementation of Project MILES (Mathematics Intensive Learning Enhancement for Students) for Grades 1 to 10 during School Year 2019-2020, following its successful pilot launch in 2018.
No fees were charged to students since the city paid for the honoraria of over 700 teachers, who handled both onsite and online sessions, the subscription of Math software Koobits popular in Singapore, and the learning materials of students.
“Unlike some private sector-led learning interventions like MTAP, which require a fee from participants, Project MILES promoted inclusivity as it was free for everyone who needed or wanted to hone their skills in Mathematics. It also helped familiarize students with e-learning, making it easier for them to adapt to online classes when the pandemic struck,” she said.
Under Project MILES, students received intervention to enhance their numeracy skills through Saturday classes and 100 percent access to free learning materials locally developed by DepEd Makati with full funding from the city government.
Binay also cited innovative measures implemented by the city at the height of the pandemic when face-to-face classes had to be stopped abruptly.
“I believe the innovative measures implemented by the city government to address the challenges of the pandemic had given our students a competitive edge,” she said.
The mayor cited Dyip ni Maki Project in which passenger jeepneys were converted into mobile learning hubs and deployed to the communities. Each repurposed vehicle had teachers, learning materials, and internet-connected laptops on board, providing assistance to students and parents with no internet access or any smart gadget.
Moreover, the city government and DepEd Makati jointly focused on developing, digitizing and printing local learning materials that were made available to the students for their online classes and asynchronous learning sessions.
Aside from providing USB OTGs containing learning modules to students, the city also equipped teachers with laptops and internet load to facilitate online classes.
“This achievement is a clear validation of the sound investments that Makati has made in modernizing the public school system,” Binay said.
She vowed to pursue more innovations and continued collaboration with DepEd Makati, especially in the development of local learning materials suited to the needs of public schoolchildren, and continuous assessment of all grade levels.
Earlier, Binay announced that the city has converted 50 percent of its initial target of 400 classrooms into “smart classrooms” as part its continuing school modernization program. Each smart classroom is being installed with a hybrid white board while students will be provided with notebook tablets and unlimited internet access.
PISA assesses the knowledge and skills of 15-year-old students (Grade 9) in mathematics, reading, and science. The tests explore how well students can solve complex problems, think critically, and communicate effectively. This gives insights into how well education systems are preparing students for real-life challenges and future success.
In February last year, Makati topped the regional Test of Functional Academic Skills (TOFAS) administered by the DepEd. Makati public schools have also consistently ranked high in the annual National Achievement Test (NAT).
This year, the city has allocated P3.25 billion of its general fund for the education sub-sector covering city-funded programs and projects of DepEd Makati, the operations of the University of Makati, and initiatives implemented by the city Education Department and Museum and Cultural Affairs Office.
Another P1.89-billion under Special Education Fund covers the free school uniforms and supplies provided from preschool to senior high school and students’ competency enhancement programs.