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Gatchalian on education reforms: Improve quality of public schools, teacher education

Re-electionist Senator Win Gatchalian said he will continue to push for improving the quality of public schools, where almost 90% of the country’s learners are enrolled.


PASAY CITY, Philippines – Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture chairman Senator Win Gatchalian, pictured here 8 Oct. 2021. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

For School Year 2021-2022, there are 27.41 million learners in the basic education sector, more than 24 million or 88% of which are in public schools. There are 3.27 million learners enrolled in the private sector, which is equivalent to 12% of basic education enrollment. Since the majority of those who will join the workforce will be graduates of public schools, Gatchalian reiterates that it is crucial to ensure that they deliver quality education.

“Bibigyan natin ng atensyon ang ating mga pampublikong paaralan dahil dito nag-aaral ang halos 90% ng ating mga mag-aaral. Kung maaayos natin ang ating mga public schools, maaayos natin ang buong bansa.” said Gatchalian.

The lawmaker added that the alarming results of three large-scale international assessments held before the pandemic—the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM), and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)—add urgency to addressing what he calls a crisis in the country’s education system.

All three assessments show that Filipino learners are failing to master basic competencies and that they are being left behind by their peers abroad. Experts warned that the lack of face-to-face classes could aggravate learning losses.

Gatchalian said that since the teacher is considered the most important factor in education, the lawmaker pressed the importance of improving the quality of teacher training and education.

The lawmaker flagged that from 2014-2019, on average, 85% of Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) are considered Poor or Worse Performing at the Elementary Level of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). At the Secondary Level, 81% of TEIs on average are considered Poor or Worse Performing at the Secondary Level. TEIs that are considered Worse or Poor Performing have passing rates of less than 50%.

Gatchalian sponsored the Excellence in Teacher Education Act to revamp the Teacher Education Council (TEC), which will set and mandate basic requirements for teacher education programs. The measure also seeks to strengthen the coordination between the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Both houses of Congress already ratified the bicameral conference committee report of the proposed measure.