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EDCOM II ratified; Gatchalian assures reforms to improve quality of education

The Senate has ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the creation of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II). For Senator Win Gatchalian, this will ensure the pursuit of much-needed reforms to address the country’s education crisis.


PASAY CITY – Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture chairman Senator Win Gatchalian at the Senate plenary hall, 16 Dec. 2020 file. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

The bicameral conference committee report of the measure, now entitled “Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II) Act,” resolved differences between House Bill No. 10308 and Senate Bill No. 2485. The measure creates the EDCOM II to undertake a comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the Philippine education sector’s performance. This is to recommend transformative, concrete, and targeted reforms to make the Philippines both globally competitive in both education and labor markets.

The EDCOM II’s national assessment and evaluation will review how the mandates are observed in laws that created the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The national assessment will also recommend specific, targeted and timebound solutions to 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.

The Commission will have three years to accomplish its mandate. The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) will serve as the Research Arm of the Commission to produce data-based research and provide analysis in the formulation of education policy recommendations.

“Sa pamamagitan ng panukalang EDCOM II, mabibigyan natin ng kaukulang pansin ang krisis sa sektor ng edukasyon, lalo na’t pinalala ito ng pandemya ng COVID-19. Kung nais natin iangat ang kalidad ng edukasyon para sa ating mga kabataan at tiyakin ang maganda nilang kinabukasan, hindi na natin maaaring ipagpaliban ang pagpapatupad ng mga kinakailangang reporma,” said Gatchalian, sponsor and co-author of the measure.

According to a joint report by UNICEF, UNESCO, and the World Bank entitled “Where are we on Education Recovery?”, 9 in every 10 Filipinos aged 10 cannot read or understand a simple story. This translates to a learning poverty level of 90.5%.

Gatchalian also thanked the co-authors of the measure: Senator Sonny Angara, the Minority Leader Senator Franklin Drilon, Senator Grace Poe, Senator Joel Villanueva, Senator Imee Marcos, Senator Nancy Binay, the Majority Leader Senator Migz Zubiri, and Senator Cynthia Villar.