/ 24 November 2021

ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro urged the Senate to prioritize providing an adequate budget for education.

The lawmaker issued the call following the release of a World Bank report that learning poverty, or the ability to read and understand simple text, worsened in the Philippines.

“Instead of pointing fingers on whether or not the World Bank should have asked the DepEd for comments in their report before publicizing their study showing that nine in ten Filipino kids aged 10 cannot read, the Department of Education and the whole Duterte administration should focus on ensuring that their policies and the budget provided for education will be able to address these perennial problems of learning loss and shortages in the supplies, facilities and benefits for our teachers and non-teaching personnel,” Castro said.

According to the recent World Bank report, only 20 percent of households with school children are able to access distance learning, the lowest rate alongside Ethiopia.

It said that the learning poverty stands at 90 percent, up from 69 percent .

“The DepEd and the Duterte administration have no one to blame but themselves because they continue to neglect to address the perennial problems of the worsening education crisis in the country,” Castro said.

“Even before the pandemic struck and gave additional challenges in the delivery of quality education, our education system had long been in crisis with the problematic curriculum due to the shortages in classrooms, textbooks, and lack of support for our teachers and other education support personnel,” Castro added.

She noted that the many paperworks and additional work that the DepEd requires from our teachers also affect the delivery of quality education to our learners.

“Instead of focusing on their lesson and how they can adequately teach their pupils, they also have to attend many webinars, finish mountains of paperwork, solicit for bond paper for the printing of modules, among many other additional tasks demanded from our teachers,” Castro said.

“Wag na magturuan kung sino ang may sala sa mababang rating ng ating bansa. Hindi na dapat sila nagulat dahil patuloy na hindi binibigyang prayoridad ang edukasyon,” she said.

“Kulang na kulang ang suporta na ibinibigay sa mga guro. Ginigipit sa mga benepisyo ang mga teacher, mismong si teacher at mga principal pa ang humahanap ng paraan para masigurado na may mga modyul ang mga bata. Laging hinahabol na lang ang paghahanda sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon, sa face to face man o sa modular,” the lawmaker explained.

“With the publication of the World Bank report and the poor ranking in international assessments and worsening ranking in learning poverty in the country, we also challenge the DepEd and the Duterte administration to heed the demands of our teachers and students for better access to quality education, address the perennial problems to solve the worsening crisis in education,” she added.