DepEd urged: Prioritize education sector’s COVID-19 recovery, open up all schools
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) under the incoming administration should immediately prioritize the recovery of the basic education sector from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Monday.
Gatchalian, who is poised to stay as the Senate basic education committee chairman in the 19th Congress, stressed the need to focus on improving the performance of the country’s learners.
To begin the sector’s recovery from the pandemic, the senator is also pushing for the full reopening of all schools, child development centers, and Alternative Learning System (ALS) community learning centers by August.
He likewise emphasized the need to implement learning recovery programs focused on reading and numeracy to address learning loss.
Gatchalian said this after Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is set to lead the DepEd in the incoming administration, took her oath of office on Sunday.
“Sa pagpasok ng bagong administrasyon, tututukan natin ang pagbangon ng sektor ng edukasyon mula sa pinsalang dinulot ng pandemya,” the senator said.
(In the incoming administration, we will focus on lifting the sector from the impact caused by the pandemic.)
Gatchalian reiterated that Duterte-Carpio, who won the vice presidency with over 61 percent of the votes for the 2022 polls, has the “political capital” to implement the needed reforms in the basic education sector, including the decongestion of the K-12 basic education curriculum to focus on basic skills.
“Makikipagtulungan tayo sa Department of Education sa pangunguna ng ating Pangalawang Pangulo upang mabuksan nang ligtas ang ating mga paaralan, at matiyak na maihahatid natin sa kabataang Pilipino ang dekalidad na edukasyon,” he added.
(We will work with the Department of Education under the leadership of our Vice President to open up the schools safely and to ensure that quality education will be delivered to the Filipino children.)
Citing the World Bank, Gatchalian said the learning poverty in the country for 2021 is at 90.5 percent.
Learning poverty is defined as the percentage of children aged 10 who cannot read or understand a simple story, he noted.
Further, Gatchalian cited a December 2021 report by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, the World Bank, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which showed that learning poverty in lower-middle income countries like the Philippines will increase by as much as 10 percentage points due to school closures inflicted by the pandemic.
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