The Department of Education (DepEd), under the new administration, should prioritize the improvement of learners’ skills, fixing the current K to 12 system and uphold the welfare of teachers, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Sunday, May 22.
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, recalled that out of 79 countries that participated in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Philippines ranked last in Reading and second to the last in Mathematics and Science.
The senator also lamented that the Philippines ranked last out of 58 countries in two other international assessments: the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) and the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics (TIMSS).
Gatchalian noted that even before the pandemic struck, experts have been saying that the congested K-12 curriculum, which requires too many competencies, is preventing learners from mastering basic skills.
He also said Filipinos are dissatisfied with the K-12 program, citing a December 2019 survey by Pulse Asia revealed that only 38 percent are satisfied with the K-12 program, while 47 percent are dissatisfied.
Among those who are dissatisfied with the K-12 program, 78 percent said they have to shell out more money for transportation and education for two more years.
“Hindi na tayo maaaring bumalik sa business as usual kung nais nating tutukan ang krisis sa ating sektor ng edukasyon (We cannot return to a business as usual if we want to focus on addressing the crisis hounding our education sector),” he said.
“Dapat nating ayusin ang programa ng K-12 at tiyaking natututo nang husto ang mga mag-aaral (We need to fix the K to 12 program and make sure that our children are learning properly),” Gatchalian further pointed out.
He also said upholding the welfare of teachers should include raising their salaries. He has proposed to increase the salary of Teacher I from Salary Grade 12 (P25,439) to Salary Grade 13 (P29,798) or Salary Grade 14 (P32,321).
Gatchalian also stressed the need for the new DepEd administration to pursue increasing local government participation in improving the education sector.