The Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II) will study challenges hounding the K to 12 curriculum, including the implementation of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) and the spiral progression approach, Senator Win Gatchalian said.
The EDCOM II is mandated to conduct a National Assessment and Evaluation which will include, among others, the determination of factors that have contributed to the continuing failure in performance of identified subject areas to meet desired local and international standards.
Gatchalian pointed out that based on the results of international large-scale assessments such as the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Filipino learners are lagging behind their peers abroad and failing to master basic competencies. Out of 79 countries that participated in PISA, the Philippines ranked lowest in Reading and second lowest in Mathematics and Science.
While the Department of Education (DepEd) is already reviewing and revising the K to 12 curriculum, Gatchalian said that the EDCOM II’s assessment will formulate proposed education reforms to address the education crisis.
“In my opinion, there are two very contentious issues specific to the K to 12 law, first is the mother tongue and second is the spiral progression,” said Gatchalian, co-chairperson of EDCOM II.
“We’ll definitely look at these because at the end of the day, what we’re looking at is improving learner performance,” he added.
A 2019 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), revealed that out of 16,287 schools surveyed, only 9% conducted the four activities needed to successfully implement MTB-MLE: the writing of big books on language, literature, and culture; documentation of the orthography of the language; documentation of grammar; and documentation of a dictionary of the language.
To ensure mastery and knowledge of skills after each level, the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 or the K to 12 Law (Republic Act No. 10533) mandated the use of the spiral progression approach, where learners are taught simple to more complicated concepts through grade levels in spiral progression.
Based on a 2020 study by researchers from the Visayas State University on the implementation of the spiral progression approach, teachers’ criticisms of the method include repetition of contents across grade levels, limited topic organization, and the lack of depth and concentration for each area in science, among others.