Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a bill proposing the creation of a ‘National Education Council’ (NEDCO) to institutionalize national coordination and harmonization of policies among the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Senate Bill No. 1526 mandates NEDCO to create a national education agenda, which will establish the country’s strategic vision for education. The national education agenda will have a horizon of at least five years, which NEDCO will update annually. NEDCO will also submit an annual report to Congress on the implementation of the national education agenda.
According to Gatchalian, the establishment of NEDCO will boost the education sector’s efforts to ‘build back better’ from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected more than 28 million students from pre-primary to tertiary levels.
To reiterate the need for aligned education policies, Gatchalian cited as an example the need for a stronger link between teachers’ in-service and pre-service teacher education, noting that the latter is not within the DepEd’s mandate. Pre-service teacher education provides training to student teachers before they undertake the actual teaching experience while in-service teacher education provides learning opportunities for practicing teachers.
NEDCO will also implement an action agenda to boost the country’s performance in assessments such as the National Achievement Test (NAT), Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Education Index, and Education for All Development Index. Gatchalian recalled the results of PISA 2018, which revealed that out of 79 countries, the Philippines ranked lowest in Reading Comprehension and second lowest in Science and Mathematics.
The senator added that if the proposed measure becomes a law, one of NEDCOs’ tasks is to make the education system more resilient considering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sa pagbuo ng NEDCO, palalakasin natin ang ugnayan sa pagitan ng DepEd, TESDA, CHED, mga iba’t ibang sektor, at ahensya ng pamahalaan upang maging mabisa ang pagpapatupad ng mga reporma sa ating sistema ng edukasyon,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
NEDCO will be chaired by the President, while the DepEd Secretary, CHED and TESDA Chairpersons will serve as Co-Vice Chairpersons. Other members of the NEDCO will include the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the heads of various government agencies, and representatives of different sectors. The proposed measure also taps the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for education mapping and statistics.
The creation of a body similar to NEDCO was first proposed in the 1991 Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM) to further strengthen the role of education in accelerating national development and global competitiveness. The National Coordinating Council for Education (NCCE) was created through Executive Order (EO) No. 273, s. 2000 issued by former President Joseph Estrada. In 2007, the Arroyo administration abolished the NCCE and transferred its functions to a Presidential Assistant and then to the Presidential Task Force to Assess, Plan and Monitor the Entire Educational System.