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Performance review of PH education system sought

VALENZUELA CITY, Philippines – Students assemble mini cars to be powered by the sun using small solar panels at a do-it-yourself solar-powered mini car racing contest in Valenzuela City, file photo Oct. 2014. Senate Committee on education vice chairman Senator Win Gatchalian wants the government to thoroughly review the current state of the Philippine education system with particular focus on gauging the “effectiveness and efficacy of existing education laws and policies” in light of the country’s troubling rankings at the 2017 Global Innovation Index and at the Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 rankings. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Troubled by the poor marks for educational access and quality earned by the Philippines in various international rankings, Senator Win Gatchalian is calling on the Senate to exercise its legislative oversight powers to conduct a comprehensive performance review of the country’s education system.

Proposed Senate Resolution No. 675, filed by Gatchalian earlier this week, “directs the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the current state of the Philippine education system,” with particular focus on gauging the “effectiveness and efficacy of existing education laws and policies.”

“Essentially our aim is to conduct an honest, objective performance review of the entire education system, encompassing everything from day care all the way up to the post-graduate level, as well as non-formal and special education,” said Gatchalian, the vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

“The feedback collected from this comprehensive review will be critical to guiding the government in crafting and implementing legislative and policy reforms which will empower the State to fulfill its obligation under the Constitution and international law to provide the Filipino people with access to quality education at all levels,” he added.

In the resolution, Gatchalian acknowledged that the government has already put into motion recent reforms aimed at “expanding access to and improving the quality of the Philippine education system”, including the K-12 Law (RA 10533), the UniFAST Law (RA 10687), and the Free Higher Education Law (RA 10931).

Despite the passage of these laws, however, the Philippines continues to receive poor marks for education in international performance indices.

On Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 released by the World Economic Forum, the Philippines ranked 66th out of 137 countries for quality of primary education, 74th for quality of higher education, and 76th for quality of math and science education. The Philippine education system did even worse on the 2017 Global Innovation Index, where it was ranked at a dismal 113th place out of 127 countries.

In the context of these sobering ratings, Gatchalian asserted that a comprehensive performance review, “with special emphasis on collecting and analyzing concrete empirical evidence regarding key educationalaccess and quality indicators,” would be pivotal to crafting “responsive legislation and policies that will put the country on the right path toward the transformation of the Philippine education system into a world-class institution.”

“I am hopeful that this Senate inquiry will serve as the solid foundation atop which we can build the world-class education system that the Filipino people deserve,” he added.