By Stephanie Sevillano

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEV’T. Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte lauds the early childhood development course in a vocational college in Malaysia, during an interview on the sidelines of her engagement in the country on Tuesday (Feb. 13, 2024). She said she looks forward to discussing such strategies with the early childhood development council in the Philippines. (Screengrab)

MANILA – Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte was delighted over her “productive” engagements with the Malaysian government and the Filipino community leaders.

“Ang baon ko ay iyong happy stories ng ating mga kababayan at iyong natutunan ko doon sa early childhood care course (I will bring home the happy stories of our fellow Filipinos and what I have learned in early childhood care course),” she said in an interview on Tuesday.

Duterte recounted some of the positive experiences Filipino community leaders discussed during their dinner on the sidelines of her engagement as president of Southeast Asian Ministers of Education (SEAMEO) in Malaysia.

“Walang naglapit ng issue or challenges nila. In fact, ang sharing nila kanina ay mga happy stories nila. Iyong isang kababayan natin bago lang kinasal sa isang Malaysian (No one raised any issue or challenges. In fact, they shared their happy stories. One of our fellow Filipinos just got married to a Malaysian national),” she said.

She also lauded some of the strategic approaches of Malaysia in terms of early childhood development care.

“Ito yung mga batang kailangan nating tutukan at alagaan kasi sila yung wala pa sa mga public schools natin. Wala pa sa paaralan natin (These are the children that we need to focus on and take care of because they are those who have not yet entered our public schools),” she said. 

Duterte referred to the early childhood development course provided to babies and kids up to 4 years old in a vocational school in Malaysia.

“We can discuss this with the early childhood development council. Ang Department of Education ang chairperson ng council na ito (is the chairperson of this council),” she added.

Besides early childhood development courses, she also thanked the Malaysian government for its support to Filipino doctors and scientists through the SEAMEO Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network (TROPMED).

In her speech, Duterte recognized the contribution of SEAMEO Regional Center for Education in Science and Mathematics (RECSAM) and SEAMEO Regional Center for Special Education Needs (SEN) in advancing quality education in Malaysia, one of the vital Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

“They also offer valuable insights for the Philippines in the implementation of our MATATAG Agenda and curriculum,” she said.

TROPMED, RECSAM, and SEN are part of SEAMEO centers initiated by the Malaysian Ministry of Education and cover a wide array of learning avenues including medicine, science and mathematics, and inclusive disability education, respectively. (PNA)