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Senate inquiry on PH students’ dismal performance needed

Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a resolution seeking an inquiry on the state of basic education in the Philippines, especially in the context of the global survey 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA 2018).


QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture chairman Senator Win Gatchalian (2nd from L) speaks with former Ateneo de Manila University president and National Scientist Fr. Bienvenido Nebres at the sidelight of a multi-stakeholder panel discussion on the challenge of education quality in the country and 2019 PISA results at SEAMEO-Innotech in Diliman, 4 Dec. 2019. Also in the picture is Education Secretary Leonor Briones speaking to an official. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

According to Gatchalian, the inquiry is not a mere post-mortem of Filipino students’ dismal performance in the global study. The triennial study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed that out of 79 countries, the Philippines ranked lowest in Reading Comprehension and second lowest in Science and Mathematics.

The review instead aims to align legislative initiatives and budget priorities with the Department of Education’s (DepEd) reform program “Sulong Edukalidad,” which shifts the standard from mere “access” to having “quality” kind of education.

“Sulong EduKalidad” has four key reform areas: K to 12 curriculum review and update, improvement of learning environment, teachers’ upskilling and reskilling, and engagement of stakeholders for support and collaboration.

“Hindi nakakagulat pero nakakadismaya pa rin ang nakita nating resulta ng PISA noong nakaraang taong, lalo na’t binigyang diin nito na kailangan talaga nating iangat ang kalidad ng edukasyon sa bansa. Sa pagsasagawa natin nitong pandinig, nais nating maunawaan nang husto ang mga hamong kinakaharap upang mabigyan natin ang mga kabataang Pilipino ng dekalidad at abot-kayang edukasyon,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

Gatchalian added that the Senate inquiry aligns with Goal 4 of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to promote lifelong learning and ensure students’ access to inclusive and equitable quality education.

PISA 2018 has likewise emphasized the need towards fostering equity in education, which means that a student’s personal background, such as socio-economic status, is not a factor to determining education outcomes such as access to schooling, student performance, students’ attitudes and beliefs, and students’ expectations for their future.

The findings of PISA 2018 reveal that the Philippines is one of the countries where the relationship between socio-economic status and academic performance remains strong. The study says socio-economically advantaged students in the Philippines outperformed disadvantaged students in Reading Comprehension by 88 score points.

With the leverage of having multi-stakeholder experts as resource persons, the inquiry also aims to arrive at a national assessment and establish ownership of the results by the government and other broad stakeholders.