|BROTHERS IN ACADS_FR. TITO CALUAG WITH SEC. ARMIN LUISTRO OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION|
Vim Nadera: What is your five- or 10-year Development/Master Plan?
Fr. Carmelo Caluag: It is simply going back to our founding vision – the mission and identity – and applying it to the present context of our country. The rest will follow since we have solid ground where we are starting the movement for renewal and reform. This is what I have been emphasizing in the recent round of conversations for the planning process: it is renewal first before reform or the changes. I think people get too focused on the change right away and this causes anxiety for some and too many expectations for others.
The development or master plan is about going back to the founding vision and discerning how it is to be fine tuned to the changing context. There is a master plan now crafted less than ten years ago, I think eight or so years back. I looked at it and even this plan needs a lot of contextualizing after almost a decade. Much has happened in the field of education and arts and more so in technology. This last area, technology, has made changes in our context across various fields move at a rapid pace. For this alone we need to revisit a master plan again; maybe plan for the next decade, but have periodic re-visits built into the plan.
The process for planning is also a possible time for “soul searching” for the different stakeholders of PHSA in terms of how much we are living out the values that com e from our founding vision and mission.
VN: Is there a need to review PHSA's vision and mission? Why?
CC: Let me put the statement in a proper context. We are reviewing not so much the vision and mission, but their fit, so to speak, in and with the changing context. For example, ABS-CBN had the founding inspiration to always be “in the service of the Filipino.” It is “eternal,” but a few years back it needed to be updated with “in the service of the Filipino worldwide.” For the Jesuits, the iconic term “men/women-for- others” was updated almost two decades ago with “men/women-with-and-for-
These examples show how the context in which we live out an organization’s
vision and mission can change. Thus an updating of or improvement on the fit is
I will even say that to periodically review the vision and mission of any organization, not just PHSA, is necessary for several reasons. One, on a more long-term period, do they still serve a purpose? Perhaps the mission had been accomplished and the vision attained; or maybe there is an irrelevance issue. Two, context always changes. Three, it is process we can use to for self-evaluation in terms of how we are living out in the day to day the core values of the organization that flow form the vision and mission.
VN: How can PHSA be relevant to the aspirations of the Filipino people and nation?
CC: Arts and culture, as my history teacher in college put it, are the windows to the soul of a people. Part of our challenge as people is to rediscover and nurture our soul as a people. PHSA has a role to play here. I hope we can create a network of arts high schools all over the country.
Let me share a story about my accepting the work in PHSA. In 2005, I had a guest from Gonzaga University, Dr. Sandi Wilson. I took her to the Intramuros tour of Mr. Carlos Celdran. The tour ended in the San Augustine crypt. Mr. Celdran was talking about the destruction of Manila during liberation. He mentioned that when Intramuros was destroyed we lost 90% of our cultural heritage and artifacts (something I validated later with an art historian) and we lost our spiritual center. The phrase that “haunted” me was what came next after this, “and we have not recovered since.”
PHSA can play role in this recovery, to rediscover our soul as a people and find a way to create spiritual centers to nurture this soul.
Creating regional high schools can help making PHSA more relevant by becoming a source of recovery and the movement to rediscover our soul and to nurture it. It can also bring the possible tool to fulfil the dream – to be an artist – closer to young people in the provinces when they have regional high schools.
VN:How were your meetings with the Department of Education officials and other stakeholders?
CC: DepEd is very supportive. I need to meet more alumni and more parents. We also need to improve the communication and the process in the school itself with regard to planning.
DepEd has been very dynamic the past two years. Their movement towards a K to 12 curriculum supports the efforts we are making. Very specific to PHSA, they have been encouraging us and giving us a lot of leeway to help develop a specialized, arts in our case, for the K to 12 program.
VN: What lesson did you learn from your Singapore and US trips?
CC: Both trips helped me see what we can do better. Singapore showed me how we can have better facilities for an arts high school. The US trip showed me how we can improve our boarding school program.
Singapore also showed me what our competitive edge is as a people – our creativity. This I think we can harness and create an entire industry that can give employment and a profession to our people. If we can develop a creativity industry, this can potentially be a major emerging industry if we pace side-by-side with the K to 12 development.
VN: Will you recommend the transfer of PHSA?
CC: Not closure, not transfer. I view it as expansion to be more relevant. Makiling can – and should remain – as the center of public school arts education. At the same time, we must also review its (the campus’) use if the regional high schools will happen – and think they will with or without PHSA. In fact, they already are opening regional high schools for the arts independent of PHSA.
If I may, I end with this. In the effort to plan and develop PHSA, I think we must make a conscious effort to distinguish between the program of the school and the campus. I sense we tend to lump the two together.
The program of PHSA is the core and the campus, though very important, is second layer, so to speak. As best as we can, Makiling must remain a home to our student-artists, but at the same time, as we expand into regional high schools and increase enrolment of students benefitting from a PHSA program, PHSA as a home to all of these students will thus result in change in terms of how we will use the campus.