WE PAID a visit to the Vancouver School Board (VSB) yesterday, and secured some basic -- and truly interesting -- info like the following:
The Vancouver school district is a large, urban and multicultural school district providing programs to 56,000 students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, over 3,000 adults in adult education programs and over 40,000 in continuing education.By comparison, the Naga public school system (elementary and high school, plus the city government's Educare system and DepEd-run preschools) only serves some 40,000 students; and less than 1,000 out-of-school youth and adults under alternative learning system (or ALS; formerly, it used to be called non-formal education or NFE).
Technical-vocational courses through the former Bicol College of Arts and Trades (now the Naga campus of the Camarines Sur Polytechnic College) and similar institutes come to mind as our local equivalent of the VSB Continuing Education program. But I doubt if their combined enrolment can reach even half of what Vancouver has.
I also doubt if our formal, ALS and technical-vocational institutions are talking to each other in a meaningful way at the national, regional and local levels. The beauty and strength of the VSB structure lies in the integration of all education services under a single organization that can be held accountable by the community it is serving. At the national level, I don't think this is feasible as it will give rise to a humungous bureaucracy bigger than the DepEd. But at the city level, I think it can be done.