Advocates call for an EdCom to ‘seriously address’ PH’s learning crisis

Published June 10, 2021, 5:48 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Eleven groups on Thursday, June 10, pushed for the immediate convening of a multi-sectoral Educational Commission (EdCom) to urgently and “seriously address” the ongoing learning crisis in the country.

Students attend online classes as schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic (MANNY LLANES / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We believe that an EdCom should be convened at the soonest possible time to set systemic and strategic long-term policy reforms that will address the crisis our country is facing,” said Aral Pilipinas; Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines; Child Hope Philippines; Del Monte Foundation, Inc.; Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc.; League of Corporate Foundations; Makati Business Club; Management Association of the Philippines; Philippine Business for Education; Philippine Business for Social Progress; and School of Knowledge for Industrial Labor, Leadership and Service (SKILLS) in a statement.

“Our education system has been on the decline over the last two decades, with our students underperforming in local and international assessments,” the groups added.

The groups noted that the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has “exacerbated the situation” with the number of enrollees declined as families cannot meet the demands of online learning or people have lost their jobs.

“School closures and mobility restrictions have also caused delays in graduations and licensure examinations, slowing the flow of new entrants in the labor force,” the groups said. “We see increasing risk of our children’s learning outcomes and futures being stunted if we do not do something about this immediately,” they added.

Before the pandemic, students attend face-to-face classes in their respective schools. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

The groups also warned that if the learning crisis remains unaddressed, the country’s own development will be “equally stunted if it cannot build upon our strong, competitive human capital.” Given these, the groups also called on the government to “stand with us in our goal to establish and create a more inclusive and quality education.”

The groups noted that the EdCom should be multi-sectoral — with representatives not only from the legislature and executive but also from the academe, business sector, civil society organizations, teacher organizations, parents, and learners.

“In addition, it must tackle concerns such as learning outcomes, learning inequities, and resiliency of the education system while remaining open to reforms such as a more decentralized system and new governance structure that is learner-centered,” the groups said.

Groups call for the immediate convening of a multi-sectoral Educational Commission (EdCom) to seriously address the learning crisis in the country. (KEITH BACONGCO / MANILA BULLETIN)

More importantly, the groups said that the EdCom must be “immediate and urgent and aim to have recommendations within the next six months” because “any delay will only further endanger the future of the Philippine youth and the country as a whole.”

Meanwhile, the groups thanked the sponsors of the EdCom resolution which passed the Committee level on May 27, 2021 in the House of Representatives (HOR).

With the ball now rolling, the groups said that “a non-contentious effort such as the EdCom should immediately pass the legislative mill.” Thus, they added, that the Philippine Education Commission should also be set up as soon as possible.