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Bicam panel approves creation of EDCOM II; Gatchalian assures education reforms

The bicameral conference committee has approved the proposal to create the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II). For Senator Win Gatchalian, this is another step forward in pursuing reforms that will address the education crisis hounding the country.


BATANGAS CITY, Philippines – Evacuees fleeing from Taal Volcano’s eruption last year seek refuge at Conception Elementary School, 17 Jan. 2020. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

The reconciled version of the measure settled the differences between Senate Bill No. 2485 and House Bill No. 10308. The proposed measure seeks the creation of the EDCOM II to undertake a comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the performance of the country’s education sector. The purpose of the assessment and evaluation is to recommend transformative, concrete, and targeted reforms in the sector to make the Philippines globally competitive in both the education and labor markets.

The national assessment shall review how the country’s education agencies–the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)—observe their mandates under the law.

The Commission’s national assessment will also include recommendations on specific, targeted, and timebound solutions that will enable education agencies to improve their performance vis-à-vis measurable indicators and deliver accessible, inclusive and quality education that is at par with world standards.

Gatchalian flagged how three international large-scale assessments—the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM), and the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)—all show that Filipino learners are failing to master basic competencies and lagging behind their peers abroad.

“Bago pa tumama sa atin ang COVID-19, nahuhuli na ang ating mga kabataan pagdating sa kanilang pag-aaral at pinalala pa ito ng mga pinsalang dulot ng pandemya. Napapanahon ang paglikha sa EDCOM II upang magsulong ng mga reporma at tugunan ang krisis na hinaharap ng ating sektor ng edukasyon,” said Gatchalian, co-author and sponsor of the measure.

The Commission shall be composed of 10 members, five from the Senate and five from the House of Representatives. The Commission’s co-chairpersons will be the Chairpersons of both the Senate Committees on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, and on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education and the Chairpersons of the House Committees on Basic Education and Culture, and on Higher and Technical Education. State think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) shall serve as the research arm of the Commission.