Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking the stronger involvement of local government units (LGUs) in the implementation of early childhood care and development (ECCD) programs.
Despite the established benefits of early childhood education on a child’s development, Gatchalian pointed out that the quality of ECCD services is highly dependent on the financial and budget framework, resources, and political will of the LGU. Considering their role in the implementation of ECCD programs, Gatchalian pressed the need to make LGUs more accountable and build on their capacities to carry out their mandate.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimates that there will be 11.1 million children aged 0 to 4 this July, 4.5 million of which are aged 3 to 4 that the ECCD System should capture, Gatchalian pointed out. Data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) revealed, however, that there were only 1,260,707 young children enrolled in child development centers (CDCs) for School Year (SY) 2021-2022.
Gatchalian asked the ECCD Council to submit to the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II) its proposed reforms to improve governance and the operational structure of the National ECCD System.
“If we don’t change the law, the structure, the governance, we will never achieve universal coverage and produce high-quality child-development teachers and workers, because all of these are in the hands of local government units,” said Gatchalian.
Last March, Gatchalian filed the Basic Education and Early Childhood Education Alignment Act (Senate Bill No. 2029), which seeks to address challenges hounding the implementation of ECCD programs.
The proposed measure amends the Early Years Act (EYA) of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10410) and mandates the ECCD Council to ensure the alignment of the K to 12 basic education curriculum and the ECCD curriculum. It also mandates greater responsibilities on LGUs, through the local school board, on the implementation of ECCD programs.
LGUs’ responsibilities will include, among others, the provision of facilities and resources for the implementation of ECCD programs. LGUs shall also aim to achieve universal coverage for the national ECCD System by identifying and supporting young children, their parents, and their parent substitutes. LGUs shall also create plantilla positions for child development workers and child development teachers and promote their professional development.
Gatchalian’s proposed measure also seeks the creation of ECCD divisions in cities and municipalities, which shall be under the administrative supervision of the mayor.