Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian on Saturday sought the formulation of a national education agenda to help aid the country’s post-pandemic recovery.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate basic education committee, issued the statement as the government is expected to launch the Updated Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 which would have a strong focus on reversing damage to the education and labor sectors.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-induced community quarantine caused schools to remain closed and income levels to fall sharply due to unemployment.
The Gatchalian proposal is articulated in Senate Bill 1526, or the National Education Council (NEDCO) Act, which is anchored on national development plans such as establishing the country’s road map for improving education through institutionalized coordination and harmonization of policies on critical issues among the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Under the proposed measure, the NEDCO takes into account the real demand of the labor market and the needs of the industry, an integrated curriculum that will deliver the desired education goals, priorities, and outcomes, and a K to 12 graduate employment plan that ensures a job-skills match between senior high school graduates vis-a-vis the qualifications and needs of the government and the private sector.
Should the proposed measure become a law, Gatchalian said that the NEDCO’s most immediate task would be to craft a national education agenda that would reverse the pandemic’s damage and address the weaknesses that the health crisis aggravated, including the digital divide and the need to improve quality in education.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), more than 28 million learners from pre-primary to tertiary levels were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.