Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is seeking an inquiry into the impact of school closures as a result of the to Covid-19 pandemic in order to identify gaps that need to be addressed by the Department of Education (DepEd).
In filing Senate Resolution (SR) No. 11 in the 19th Congress, Gatchalian wants the DepEd, under the supervision of Vice President Sara Duterte, to know the measures that need to be done to ensure learning continuity.
This developed as the public school system set the opening of school year 2022-2023 on Aug. 22.
While the lawmaker believed that DepEd already sought to address the pandemic's impact, the basic education sector still faced various problems, including massive learning and long-term economic losses that worsened the poor performance of learners since the pre-pandemic period.
He cited a joint report by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank, which stated that learning poverty, or those 10 years old who cannot read, in the Philippines before the Covid-19 pandemic was at 90.5 percent. The report also said the learning poverty in countries like the Philippines could increase by as much as 10 percentage points because of school closures.
Gatchalian said the continuous education disruption under the pandemic could result in severe consequences, such as learners' loss of basic numeracy and literacy skills, deteriorating mental health, lack of access to a regular source of nutrition, and vulnerability to abuse.
"Upang matiyak natin ang pagbangon ng sektor ng edukasyon, nais nating suriin at maunawaan ang pinsalang dulot ng pandemya ng Covid-19. Kasunod nito ang pagpapatupad natin ng mga hakbang upang hindi mapag-iwanan ang ating mga mag-aaral (To ensure the recovery of education sector, we want to assess and understand the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Along with it, we also want to implement measures to allow learners to keep up)," he said.