Gatchalian urges DepEd to open education-related info up for public scrutiny 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to open up its education-related data for analysis so that the government can address learning loss in the Philippines, brought about by school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic, more effectively with the help of the other sectors.

                                            Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian (Senate PRIB Photo)

Gatchalian pointed this out during the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) meeting on Thursday, May 18, where learning loss recovery was discusssed with DepEd and stakeholders.
“I heard mention about opening up the data sets. I think that’s an admission that we need help from the experts, that’s a good admission. We also encourage the private sector to help analyze the data,” Gatchalian said. 
“DepEd should also develop its own capability and analysis because we will also rely on those analyses,” he said.
Presiding the EDCOM 2’S hearing as co-chairman of the panel, Gatchalian also praised ongoing initiatives to help children, as well as educators, catch up on learning.
DepEd officials, researchers, private schools and colleges and non-government organizations present during the meeting, presented their studies, programs, plans and recommendations to improve students’ learning outcomes.
“It's important for everyone to join hands and help our learners cope with all of these issues surrounding learning losses and academic recovery," said Gatchalian, who chairs the Committee on Basic Education in the Senate.  
DepEd Assistant Secretary for Curriculum and Teaching Alma Ruby Torio, in presenting the DepEd’s National Learning Recovery Program (NLRP), noted that while learning losses have been observed around the world, the Philippines’ is reported to be in severe levels. 
“For sampled Grade 6 learners, a significant learning loss was detected in Problem Solving and Critical Thinking,”  Torio said. 
The NLRP aims to mitigate the effects of learning loss through four distinct programs: the National Reading Program, the National Math Program, the National Science & Technology Program, and the Learning Camp. 
Torio stressed the importance of making sure that “the NLRP has to be learners-centered, learners-focused, and that no one is left behind. “
DepEd also detailed its plans for the National Learning Camp: a two-fold program that aims to improve learning either in the form of enrichment, intervention, or remediation held every end of the school year break. Starting this year in July, the Department plans to prioritize Grades 1-3 learners for Reading, and Grades 8-10 students for STEM and English.
Gatchalian said he is glad to hear such developments happening in the education sector. 
“Rolling out a massive intervention program is really daunting. Rolling it out as fast as we can, as even as possible, taking into consideration the need to make it robust and customized to the needs of our learners is really challenging, but I’m happy to see that there are things moving,” he said.
“What we need is national consolidated data and analysis because from my point of view, when we allocate the budget, we need to justify that budget. And we also need to look at the bigger picture. Of course the granular, municipality, division data are very important but from a policy point of view, we also need to look at the bigger picture,” the lawmaker stressed.