MANILA – The Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) has started reviewing the country’s education system with the aim of coming up with solutions to the problems being faced by the sector, Senator Sonny Angara said Thursday.
“Over the next three years EDCOM 2 will undertake an exhaustive assessment of our country’s education system. The task at hand is heavy and critical. We currently have a learning crisis and it is precisely because of this that EDCOM 2 was created. We have to come up with reforms and these will be introduced over the course of the next three years,” Angara said in a statement.
Angara, who is one of the six designated commissioners of EDCOM 2, noted that assessments on academic performances conducted over the past three years have revealed worrisome weaknesses among Filipino students when compared to their international counterparts.
In the 2018 round of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Filipino students attained the lowest score for reading, and second to the lowest for science and mathematics, out of 79 countries surveyed.
The following year, in the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS), which assessed academic performance across 58 countries, the Philippines ranked last for Grade 4 mathematics and science.
Then in the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) study across six Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, Filipino Grade 5 students underperformed in almost all the metrics utilized, with significant proportions scoring lowest in certain proficiencies.
In November 2021, the World Bank reported that 90 percent of Filipino ten-year-olds were possibly thrust into “learning poverty” because of the pandemic, such that they do not know how to read and understand a simple passage of text.
“The establishment of EDCOM 2 was prompted by these alarming developments and our work in the Commission will take these findings into consideration when we come up with policy and legislative reforms to improve the performance of our education system,” Angara said.
EDCOM 2 was established through Republic Act 11899 which lapsed into law on July 23, 2022.
Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Francis Escudero, as well as Reps. Roman Romulo (Pasig City) and Mark Go (Baguio) currently sit as chairpersons of the Commission.
Apart from Angara, the other Commissioners for EDCOM 2 are Senator Pia Cayetano, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, and Reps. Jose Francisco Benitez (Negros Occidental 3rd District), Khalid Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte 1st District), and Pablo John Garcia (Cebu 3rd District).
The Advisory Council, that will provide the EDCOM 2 with expert assistance and advice, consists of Ateneo de Manila president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, University of the Philippines Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Maria Cynthia Rose Bautista, National Teachers College President Alfredo Ayala, PHINMA Education/Philippine Business for Education President and CEO Dr. Meliton Salazar, Private Education Assistance Committee Executive Director Rhodora Angela Ferrer, former TESDA Director General Irene Isaac, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, Taguig City Mayor Maria Laarni Cayetano, Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net Philippines) President Maria Olivia Lucas, and Synergeia Foundation President and CEO Dr. Milwida Guevara.
EDCOM 2 had their first official meeting last week to kickstart the strategic planning for national education assessment. (PNA)