While the incoming administration is set to review the K to 12 program, Senator Win Gatchalian is proposing to refine the K to 3 curriculum to make it more focused on literacy and numeracy.
According to Gatchalian, who is set to retain his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture in the 19th Congress, large scale international assessments showed that the country’s learners are struggling in the critical learning areas of Math and Reading. This will have negative and long-term consequences on their future and the country as a whole, Gatchalian emphasized.
The senator also cited the observation of experts who flagged that the K to 12 curriculum is too overcrowded and needs decongesting. Because learners are required to learn too many competencies, this affects their ability to master basic competencies, Gatchalian explained.
To address learning loss because of COVID-19 school closures, Gatchalian proposes learning recovery programs that are intensive on reading and numeracy.
In Senate Bill No. 2355 or the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act, which was filed during the recently concluded 18th Congress, Gatchalian’s proposed learning recovery program covers the most essential learning competencies under Language and Mathematics for Grades 1 to 10 and Science for Grades 3 to 10. Reading will also be prioritized to develop critical and analytical thinking skills of learners. Literacy and numeracy competencies will be given focus for Kindergarten learners to build on their foundational competencies.
“Upang matugunan natin ang krisis sa sektor ng edukasyon, kailangan tutukan natin ang ating mga mag-aaral at tiyaking natututo sila nang husto. Kailangang matiyak natin na matatag ang kanilang pundasyon lalo na pagdating sa pagbasa at mga numero dahil dito nakasalalay ang marami pang mga bagay na dapat nilang matutunan, ” said Gatchalian.
According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2019, only 19% of Grade 4 learners in the Philippines met the minimum benchmark level required in Math.
Using pre-pandemic data, the World Bank estimates that learning poverty in the Philippines for 2021 is already at 90.5%. Learning poverty is defined as the percentage of children aged 10 who cannot read or understand a simple story. The World Bank also warns that because of COVID-19 school closures, learning poverty will rise by 10% in lower-middle income countries like the Philippines.