In 2013, the Enhanced Basic Education Act was signed into law, marking the most significant education reform in the Philippines in the past decades. This law, Republic Act No. 10533, institutionalized the K to 12 system, adding two more years of schooling, and including Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE). The Department of Education (DepEd) thus launched the Every Child a Reader (ECAR) Program, and the in-service teacher training, Early Language Literacy and Numeracy (ELLN) for Kindergarten to Grade 3 teachers (K to 3) in 2014. Following this, the DepEd issued Deped Order No. 12 requiring all k to 12 teachers to acquire the basic competencies identified in ELLN. The DepEd also issued Deped Order No. 35 in 2016 establishing the School Learning Action Cell (SLAC), a mechanism for school-based mentoring and professional learning communities. Furthermore, with the implementation of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Law (RA 10912), teachers would be required to earn CPD units starting 2019, to maintain their teaching license.
These developments in policy paved the way for continuous development and innovation in teacher professional development (TPD) in the Philippines. Traditionally, TPD is delivered using the face-to-face training of trainers (ToT) cascade model. However, this model is faced with three major issues: 1) the need to assess teacher competencies; 2) the large number of teachers in need of TPD; and 3) sustainability of the TPD. There were also issues in the scheduling of TPD, the limited pool of trainers, and the implementation of the SLACs. These issues are compounded with the uneven access to TPD resources and uneven quality of TPD management. Given these challenges, the DepEd recognized the need for flexible, cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable models for continuing TPD.
In 2016, the DepEd, in partnership with the Foundation for Information Technology and Development (FIT-ED), developed and tested a model for TPD delivery through the implementation of the ELLN that is technology-supported. The pilot was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and undertaken by FIT-ED with DepEd. In 2017, an impact evaluation of ELLN Digital was conducted by the University of Western Australia (UWA), through a grant from the International Development Research Centre in Canada. The evaluation brought about enhancements to courseware and guides. In 2018, ELLN Digital was turned over to DepEd, and TPD@Scale Philippines was launched.
In 2019, the DepEd conducted the National Orientation on the Adoption of the Blended Delivery Model for TPD: Roll-out of ELLN Digital for K to 3 Teachers, and FIT-ED provided orientations on ELLN Digital course delivery in a series of island cluster workshops. As additional input the Readiness Assessment and Improvement Cycles mechanisms for continuous monitoring and support for ELLN Digital were introduced. The ELLN National Scale Up was thus initiated and courses were delivered in cycles that could be used for CPD units, in line with the implementation of the CPD Law (RA 10912).
With the onslaught of the COVID pandemic in 2020, and the subsequent closure of face-to-face classes and the rapid shift to remote learning, the DepEd shifted its priorities to learning continuity. To capacitate teachers to deliver remote learning, the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) developed the Learning Delivery Modalities (LDM) Courses, as part of the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) for School Year 2020 – 2021. The ELLN Digital model was adapted for the delivery of the LDM courses, to train school leaders, division leaders, and teachers, at scale. The LDM Courses started in July 2020 for school leaders, and in September 2020 for teachers, ahead of the opening of classes in October 2020. The courses were evaluated after the first round of implementation, and the LDM will continue to be offered by the NEAP and mainstreamed in other NEAP-recognized programs.