Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing to accelerate digitalization to ensure that Filipino learners will have adequate and quality learning materials.
The 2022 round of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) showed that compared to other Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development countries on average (-0.17), the index of shortage of educational materials in the Philippines was relatively high (0.71). A one-unit increase in the index of shortage of educational material resulted in a decrease of four score points in mathematical performance.
The triennial assessment of 15-year-old learners also showed that 55% of students attended schools where principals reported a lack of educational materials, including textbooks, information and communications technology (ICT) equipment, library, or laboratory materials. Forty-nine percent of students were in schools whose principals reported inadequate or poor quality educational materials.
Six out of ten students attended schools where principals reported a lack of digital resources (63%), and inadequate or poor quality digital resources (63%), which include desktop or laptop computers, internet access, learning management systems, or school learning platforms.
The 2022 PISA, however, also revealed that compared to OECD countries, Filipino students reported a more positive experience with home-based learning. Seventy-nine percent of learners reported that distance learning improved their skills in using digital devices for learning purposes, while 83% said their teachers were well prepared to provide remote instruction.
Fifteen-year-old learners also spend approximately 10.7 hours on digital resources, six for learning and 4.7 for leisure. Every one-hour increase in time spent per day on digital devices for learning at school led to a three-point increase in math scores but resulted in a four-point decrease when used for leisure.
For Gatchalian, these findings, coupled with the country’s experience during the pandemic, underscore the need to bridge the digital divide and adopt digital education to make the sector more resilient and innovative. He also emphasized the need to ensure learning continuity even in the midst of disruptions.
Gatchalian’s bills that seek to accelerate the use of digital technology in education include the Digital Transformation in Basic Education Act (Senate Bill No. 383), the Philippine Online Library Act (Senate Bill No. 477), and the One Learner, One Laptop Act (Senate Bill No. 474).