Following the Senate’s third and final reading approval of the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act (Senate Bill No. 1604), learners nationwide will soon have access to well-systematized tutorial sessions and well-designed intervention plans that will address pandemic-related learning loss, Senator Win Gatchalian said.
The ARAL Program is Gatchalian’s proposed national core strategy to accelerate learning recovery and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will ensure that learners are provided optimal instructional time so they can master essential learning competencies and make up for learning loss.
The proposed program shall cover the essential learning competencies under Language and Mathematics for Grades 1 to 10, and Science for Grades 3 to 10. It will also prioritize reading and numeracy. For kindergarten learners, the ARAL program shall focus on building additional skills that will strengthen their numeracy and literacy competencies.
The proposed ARAL program shall cover public school learners who did not enroll starting School Year 2020-2021 and those who are below the minimum proficiency levels required in Language, Mathematics, and Science. Private school learners may also avail of the interventions provided for under the measure.
Tutors under the ARAL Program shall include teachers and para-teachers. Qualified senior high school and tertiary level students, as well as pre-service teachers may also volunteer as tutors. Senior high school tertiary level students who serve as tutors for a period of two semesters shall be given credits equivalent to their Literacy Training Service under the National Service Training Program.
“Isang mahalagang hakbang ang pagpasa ng Senado sa ating panukalang ARAL Program upang mapaigiting ang pagbangon ng sektor ng edukasyon mula sa pinsalang idinulot ng pandemya ng COVID-19. Titiyakin nating makakahabol sa kanilang mga aralin ang ating mga mag-aaral,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
Based on the World Bank’s simulation analysis for the Philippines, Learning-Adjusted Years of Schooling will decrease from 7.5 years to 5.7 to 6.1 years. This means that the quality of post-pandemic learning for 12 years of basic education would only be equivalent to 5.7 to 6.1 years-worth of schooling.
Gatchalian also thanked the co-authors and co-sponsors of the measure: Senators Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, Jinggoy Estrada, Robinhood Padilla, and Majority Leader Joel Villanueva.