Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday, June 28 said he will propose to refine the K to 3 (Kindergarten to Grade 3) curriculum when the incoming Marcos administration starts its review of the K to 12 program.
Gatchalian said he intends to make sure that the K to 3 curriculum is focused on literacy and numeracy to boost the country’s learners knowledge of Math and Reading.
Gatchalian, who is set to retain his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture in the 19th Congress, noted that most students are struggling in these area and this could have a negative and long-term consequences on their future and the country as a whole.
“In order to resolve the crisis on education, we need to make sure that our students are really learning properly,” Gatchalian said.
“We need to make sure that their learning foundation is strong especially when it comes to reading and numeracy because they need to master these in order to learn other subjects that they need to learn,” he said.
The senator also raised the observation of experts who flagged that the K to 12 curriculum is too overcrowded and needs decongesting.
Gatchalian pointed out learners are required to learn too many competencies and this affects their ability to master basic competencies.
Gatchalian earlier filed Senate Bill No. 2355 or the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act, but the measure failed to pass into law during the 18th Congress.
He proposed that the learning recovery program cover the most essential learning competencies under Language and Mathematics for Grades 1 to 10 and Science for Grades 3 to 10.
The program also aims to make Reading a priority to develop the critical and analytical thinking skills of learners. It also seeks to build on Literacy and numeracy competencies and make it the main focus for Kindergarten learners to build on their foundational competencies.
Citing the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2019, Gatchalian noted that only 19 percent of Grade 4 learners in the Philippines met the minimum benchmark level required in Math.
Using pre-pandemic data, the World Bank estimates that learning poverty in the Philippines for 2021 is already at 90.5 percent.
Learning poverty is defined as the percentage of children aged 10 who cannot read or understand a simple story.