In an effort to reverse the education crisis hounding the country, Senator Win Gatchalian pressed the importance of early childhood care and development (ECCD) in enhancing learners’ performance.
Based on results of the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) and analysis by the senator’s office, one year of attendance in an early childhood education (ECE) program is correlated with an average increase of about 6 points in Grade 5 math performance. Learners who attended an ECE program had an average predicted math score of 286 compared to 282 for those who did not.
The SEA-PLM data also shows that compared to parents whose children did not attend ECE, parents whose children attended ECE reported that their children were better equipped to perform language and mathematical tasks prior to primary education. These tasks include reading and writing words, recognizing shapes, and basic addition.
“ECCD is a crucial program to improve our learners’ performance. Ultimately, it will lead to more intelligent, better-prepared students who excel in schools,” said Gatchalian.
The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, however, pointed out the need to ensure quality in ECCD programs.
Analyzing the 2019 SEA-PLM results by income group, it was revealed that for the poorest 25% of learners, attendance in ECE had a negligible but positive associated effect of 0.4 points on Grade 5 math scores. In contrast, the richest 25% of learners who attended ECED scored 10.71 points higher than those who did not attend. These results suggest that access to quality ECE programs affects the performance of both the richest and poorest learners.
“Quality is also very important. We should not only be building as many child development centers as possible. When we talk about quality, we should talk about the curriculum, our workers and teachers,” Gatchalian added.
Gatchalian is the author of the Basic Education and Early Childhood Education Alignment Act (Senate Bill No. 2029), which seeks to ensure the alignment of the ECCD curriculum and the K to 12 basic education curriculum. The proposed measure also seeks to impose greater responsibilities on local government units (LGUs) on the implementation of ECCD programs.