Before the Department of Education (DepEd) presented its first-ever Basic Education Report (BER), lawmakers met with education experts from various fields to have a strategic discussion for the country’s education reform.
The BER 2023, to be delivered by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Jan. 30, will present the current challenges and the sector priorities of the agency.
During the Strategic Planning Session held at the University of the Philippines, BGC Campus on Jan. 26, senators and representatives forming the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) worked with experts to strategize how to solve the education sector’s persistent problems.
The brainstorming session highlighted the top issues plaguing the education sector, including the lack of focus on foundational skills and excessive administrative work for educators.
Uneven resources and budgetary constraints as well as the disparity in the quality of education between socioeconomic classes were also identified as among the topmost challenges in the country’s education sector.
“The issues that we face today have just been ‘cut and pasted’ between 1990 and 2022,” Senator Win Gatchalian, EDCOM 2 Co-Chair, said in his welcome remarks.
EDCOM 2, he added, is a “big step towards leveling up the quality of education in the pursuit of its mandate.”
EDCOM 2 Executive Director Dr. Karol Mark Yee led the event with the assistance of facilitators from the Development Academy of the Philippines, Dr. Olivia Domingo, and Dr. Ma. Lourdes Rebullida.
During the event, UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Cynthia Bautista also presented a talk on “Understanding ‘Poor Learner Outcomes’,” where she discussed the detrimental effects of a weak education system on the students.
Gatchalian, Congressman Roman Romulo, and Congressman Mark Go presided over the planning session as Co-Chairs of the Commission.
Also present were Senator Joel Villanueva, Senator Pia Cayetano, Senator Sonny Angara, Congressman Pablo John Garcia, Congressman Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez, and Congressman Khalid Dimaporo, as Commissioners of EDCOM 2.
Members of the EDCOM 2 Advisory Council including the National Teachers College President Fred Ayala; Professor and Former President of Ateneo de Manila University Fr. Ben Nebres, S.J.; PHINMA Education and Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Chito Salazar; Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC) Executive Director Doris Ferrer; Former TESDA Secretary Irene Isaac; Civil Society Network for Education Reforms President Olie Lucas; and Synergeia Foundation Executive Director Dr. Milwida Guevara.
Also in attendance were Councilor Corazon Raymundo, representing Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, and Rene Lopos, representing Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano. Representatives from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) also participated in the event.
According to Yee, “a lot of the problems that we face today are not new. been trying to solve them since the very first education reform commissions in 1925.”
EDCOM 2 follows in the footsteps of the First Congressional Commission on Education in 1990, which was the basis for the formation of the DepEd, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Yee added that “we have the benefit of learning from the previous commissions to ensure that EDCOM 2 succeeds.”