Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday rallied lawmakers to heed calls for a thorough review of the government’s K to 12 Program, and the need to introduce drastic reforms to solve the country’s education crisis.
Gatchalian, who heads the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said it can no longer be denied that Filipino students are lagging behind in reading, literacy, math and science proficiency way before the COVID-19 crisis hit the Philippines and the country’s elementary and high schools have been unsuccessful in teaching the most basic and essential competencies to the vast majority of learners.
Adding to the problems hounding the education sector is the lack of face-to-face classes due to the pandemic, Gatchalian noted.
“Hindi maikakaila na hindi natututo ang marami nating mag-aaral sa paaralan. Masaklap mang tanggapin pero lumalabas sa ating pagsusuri na bagsak ang marka ng mismong sistema ng basic education sa bansa (We can’t deny that many of our students are not learning. It’s hard to accept but based on our studies, even the country’s basic education has flunked the test),” Gatchalian said in a privilege speech.
“I wish to emphasize once more the grave consequences of the continuing failure of our schools. We must remember that education is a means to an end. As stated in the Constitution, the ends are to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development,” he said.
“The failure of the State to deliver quality education to the Filipino masses is akin to the State fostering not patriotism but disloyalty, not progress but decay, not liberty but slavery,” the senator reiterated.
He appealed to the senators to join in answering the call to drastically reform the country’s basic education system, particularly the K to 12 program, which was originally packaged to address deficiencies in the previous curriculum and restructure the country’s education goals.
Because eight years after its enactment, Gatchalian said the law has yet to realize the intended boost to learner outcomes.
“I sincerely hope you will join me in answering the call-to-arms to drastically reform the basic education system. Hindi lamang ang kinabukasan ng mga kabataan ang nakasalalay dito, nakataya rin dito ang kinabukasan ng buong bansa (The future of our young generation are not the only ones at stake here (sic), but the future of the whole nation),” he lamented.
“We need to put an end to the education crisis, once and for all. I sincerely hope that we, as the Senate, can unite across party lines for this daunting yet irreducibly worthy task,” the lawmaker pointed out.