The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), Faculty of Education (FEd), in collaboration with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. – Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund (RAFI-DACF), and UPOU Foundation Inc. (UPOUFI) concluded the third offering of the free online training course on “Foundations of Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED)” with a virtual closing ceremony held via Zoom and Facebook Livestream on 23 September 2023. The event celebrated the program’s ongoing impact in shaping the future of early childhood education and development, empowering individuals to make a lasting difference to young learners. Moreover, the event highlighted the commitment of the course completers and the accomplishment of the program in equipping professionals to give high-quality education and care to young learners.
The third offering of the ECED course, which ran from 25 March to 28 May 2023, had 242 enrolled participants with 187 completers (77% of the total enrollees). This initiative, launched in March 2021, aimed to enhance the competencies of daycare teachers and workers in early childhood care and development (ECCD). It aligned with the university’s vision of becoming a “University of the Future,” developing young minds and providing a foundation for their future success.
Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao, Professor and ECED Project Director, emphasized in his welcome message the general significance of early childhood education:
“As daycare workers and early childhood education teachers, you hold a special place in our society. You are the architects of a child’s first educational experiences, the one who lays the cornerstone for their lifelong journey.”
The UPOU Chancellor, Dr. Melinda Bandalaria, applauded the efforts of the course completers in her message, further encouraging them to use their expertise for positive change in their communities and to continue their professional development.
Ms. Flordeliz Cabantoc and Ms. Sweet Opalyne Sa-a, ECED course participants, expressed their gratitude to the course developers and coordinators who helped them through their ECED journey. Likewise, they encouraged their fellow completers to apply what they have learned for the betterment of early childhood education in their respective communities.
The event also recognized the efforts of the course developers who were instrumental in shaping the ECED course and the course coordinators who oversaw the whole run of the program. This team of people include Dr. Aurora Fe Bautista, course developer and a former Dean of UPOU FEd, Ms. Anna Liza Baracelona, Ms. Stacy Mae Borromeo, Mr. Sammy Boy Guzman, Ms. Ann Michelle Medina, and Mr. Paulo Luis Zipagan. In her congratulatory message, Dr. Aurora Fe Bautista reminded the completers of the bigger responsibility associated with the completion of the ECED course, especially in terms of contributing to early childhood education. Ms. Anna Liza Barcelona further reiterated this in her message, expressing her hope that the completers would continue “to pursue self-learning for the betterment of oneself.”
The event concluded with the closing remarks from the RAFI Junior Executive Director and representative, Ms. Jenny Lea Tan-Menchavez, who commended the course completers for their initiative to further improve themselves and in turn, serving as an inspiration or “champion” for children.
Written by: Alyanna Fatima Micosa
Edited by: Asst. Prof. Ana Katrina Marcial, Asst. Prof. Charisse Reyes, and Ms. Rhonna Marie Veraña