As classes open for School Year 2022-2023, Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the government to ensure the safety of learners and implement measures for learning recovery.
Gatchalian is visiting schools today in Valenzuela City, particularly Marulas Central Elementary School and Valenzuela National High School, to check on the preparedness of these schools, their teachers, and learners amid the current public health situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the Chairman of the Committee on Basic Education, expanding COVID-19 vaccination coverage among learners remains one of the most important steps to prevent outbreaks in schools. Gatchalian points out the persisting challenge in vaccinating learners aged 5 to 11. Based on the Department of Health (DOH) National Vaccination Operations Center data as of August, only 26.94% of children aged 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated and 76.41% of children aged 12 to 17 have been fully vaccinated.
“Let’s come up with innovative ways, partner with the DOH and local government units, see if we can set up vaccination sites in schools, and encourage more children to get their vaccines,” Gatchalian proposes.
He also renews calls for the DepEd to address learning poverty. As of June 2022, the World Bank has estimated that learning poverty in the country is at 90.9%. This means that nine out of 10 kids aged 10 cannot read or understand a simple story.
To address the effects of learning loss, Gatchalian has filed Senate Bill No. 150 or the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act to institute a nationwide learning recovery program. The proposed ARAL Program shall cover the most essential learning competencies in Language and Mathematics for Grades 1 to 10, and Science for Grades 3 to 10. It will also focus on Reading to develop the critical and analytical thinking skills of learners.
“Tayo po ay nakamonitor sa estado ng mga paaralan upang siguruhing bukod sa ligtas ang muling pagbabalik ng mga mag-aaral sa kanilang klase ay mabibigyan sila ng dekalidad na edukasyon tungo sa hangaring walang mag-aaral ang mapag-iiwanan, may kapansanan man o wala.” Gatchalian says.
Marulas Central Elementary School and Valenzuela National High School are two of the schools in Valenzuela that have their Inclusion program with learners with disabilities.