MANILA – The next set of Department of Education (DepEd) officials should prioritize improving students’ skills, “fixing the K-12 system,” and upholding teachers’ welfare in order to address the so-called learning crisis in the country, senator-elect Sherwin Gatchalian said Sunday.
“Hindi na tayo maaaring bumalik sa business as usual kung nais nating tutukan ang krisis sa ating sektor ng edukasyon. Dapat nating ayusin ang programa ng K-12 at tiyaking natututo nang husto ang mga mag-aaral,” Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate basic education committee, said in a statement.
(We can’t go back to business as usual if we want to address the crisis in our education sector. We should fix our K-12 program and ensure that our children actually learn.)
Advocates have said an education crisis had been plaguing the Philippines even before the COVDI-19 pandemic, citing poor learning outcomes and performance of Filipino students in international assessments.
The crisis, advocates said, was only exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic as schools were forced to close and shift to a less effective remote learning setups.
In his statement, Gatchalian also cited a December 2019 survey from Pulse Asia, which found that only 47 percent of its respondents are dissatisfied with the K-12 program.
The next DepEd administration can uphold teachers’ welfare by raising their salaries, according to Gatchalian.
The lawmaker recommended to raise the salary of Teacher 1 from Grade 12 (P25,439) to Salary Grade 13 (P29,798) or Salary Grade 14 (PP32,321).
The new DepEd officials should also increase “local government participation” in making decisions regarding education, Gatchalian said.
Presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr earlier said he would appoint his running mate, vice presidential frontrunner Sara Duterte-Carpio, as the next education secretary.
Duterte-Carpio has said she would “work on producing skilled learners with the mindset to realize their full potential as individuals” should she become the new DepEd chief.
“Our country needs a future generation of patriotic Filipinos that advocate peace and discipline in their respective communities,” she said in a previous statement.