A group of education workers urged the government to ensure that the results of the National Achievement Test (NAT) to be conducted by the end of this month will be used in improving the quality of education in the country.
“This year’s NAT is of special significance as it will be the first since the pandemic and the ensuing learning crisis of the problematic implementation of distance learning,” said Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Chairperson Vladimer Quetua in a statement.
The Department of Education (DepEd) announced the scheduled NAT for Grade 12 students on Jan. 30 and 31.
For ACT, the conduct of this year’s NAT should be taken as an opportunity to “truly utilize” its results in improving education quality in the country “as it has failed to do so in the past two decades.”
“If done properly, it can give us a clearer picture of the crisis in education that we are experiencing right now,” Quetua said. “If analyzed honestly and critically, it can lead us to identifying and addressing the key problems that bog down education quality,” he added.
Quetua noted that in the previous years, NAT results have consistently shown the “low proficiency level of our students” in practically all subject areas.
“Our students were pitied while our teachers were frowned at for the dismal performance, but there have not been significant reforms implemented to create an enabling learning environment by filling in the grave shortages in classrooms, teachers and materials, and resolving the overworked and underpaid situation of our teachers,” he said.
Citing studies, ACT said that the government has only expended an equivalent of 2.2 percent to 3.6 percent of the annual gross domestic product on education since 2010. This, the group noted, is a “far cry” from the recommendation of the United Nations (UN) at six percent.
“What significant reforms can we expect when our government is not keen in investing on our learners?” Quetua asked.
With the ongoing review of the K to12 curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Education Commission’s impending study of the country’s education system, the ACT is pushing for an “inclusive and honest-to-goodness assessment of our education’s situation, and game-changing reforms that will truly make our education accessible, equitable, of high-quality and responsive to the needs of nationalist development.”