Toward an Outcomes-Based Education Curriculum: A Philippine Higher Education Institution Experience

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Glenda Santiago Arquiza, PhD
Chairperson, Continuing Professional Development Council for Nursing, Professional Regulation Commission, Republic of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines

This was a commissioned project by a higher education institution titled “ Change Process Toward a Transformed Professional Institution: The XXX-XXXX Experience.”

This project was in response to Commission on Higher Education ( CHED ) Memorandum Order No. 46, Series of 2012 “Policy Standard to Enhance Quality Assurance ( QA ) in Philippine Higher Education Through an Outcomes-Based and Typology-Based QA.”

Globalization brought about uncertainties in the environment. This phenomenon introduced competition everywhere and in every facet of a country’s landscape. This is especially true in the education sector where “ knowledge ” is the prime product. With technological advancement, there is rapid obscelescence of knowledge resulting to the widening of skills and knowledge gap. Thus, the need for common standards to work seamlessly across programs, institutions and geographic boundaries.

In the Philippines, the 1993 Educational Commission ( EDCOM ) of the Senate of the Philippines reported a mismatch between products of the educational system and the needs of the industry, the health sector,( to which the nursing profession belongs ) , included. It was true then as it is now. The quality of education continues to suffer necessitating a major overhaul of the Philippine Educational System from basic to post-graduate education. Hence, the issuance of the said memo.

The two-dimensional approach to Quality Assurance as designed by CHED, the Horizontal Typology and the Vertical Typology, is a shift from pure Quality Control ( QC ) to a more comprehensive Quality Assurance ( QA ) view of managing quality of higher education. Underlying the QA system is a radical shift towards competency-based curriculum for all education programs( Padua,2012).

The Horizontal Typology classifies a higher education institution as a” college” or a “professional institution “or as a “university.” On the other hand, the Vertical Typology classifies a school as “recognized” or “deregulated” or “ autonomous.” This typology is transformative in nature.

Using the TRIANGLE of TRANSFORMATION as the conceptual framework, XXX-XXXX, a higher education institution offering health-related courses, rose up to the challenge of overhauling the curricular programs with the end goal of becoming a transformed professional institution five years after project implementation.

The Triangle of Transformation was espoused by James Bryan Smith (2009), a theologian educator. This is a reliable method of changing one’s heart involving four elements, namely: 1) changing the stories in one’s mind; 2) engaging in new practices; 3) in reflection and dialogues with others who are on the same path; and 4) all under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Keying off on this model, these four elements were thought of in the context of the change process in education as: 1) Paradigm shift; 2) revision of curricular programs; 3) linking with other professional institutions and health-related organizations; and 4) school management and leadership ( school governance ).

This change initiative called for a paradigm shift from education to lifelong learning, and from education as transmission of expert knowledge to education as building learner competencies, including learning how to learn ( CMO No. 46, Series of 2012 ). Thus, a paradigm shift of looking at a school as a LEARNING ORGANIZATION.

Learning Organization as defined by Senge ( 1990 ) is a “place where people continually expand their capacity to create results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free and where people are continually learning how to learn.”

The change process also called for the review and revision of the curricular programs into an outcomes-based curriculum as well as developing linkages with other professional institutions and health-related organizations which serve as the laboratory for the students’ clinical experiences. Most importantly, it called for a brand of school governance which is transformative in nature.

To achieve XXX-XXXX’s vision of an autonomous professional institution, the school subscribed to the Critical-Humanist Philosophy, the Heroic Leadership Model, and The Way of the Shepherd Principles. All these pervaded all the elements of the institution.

Twelve months after the project commenced, all eight (8) curricular program offerings have submitted the Outcomes-Based Curriculum, ready for implementation in June 2018. With hope in their hearts, their journey to becoming an AUTONOMOUS PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTION will be a reality in 2021!