/ 27 August 2021

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday stressed the need to address the learning gap between rich and poor students and the impact of school closures on poor households.

A Pulse Asia Survey commissioned by Gatchalian showed that among those who agree to the resumption of face-to-face classes, 73 percent from Class E and 61 percent from Class D said that students learn more in school than at home compared to 55 percent from Class ABC.

The demand for a return to in-person learning was also higher with 44 percent among respondents nationwide, 33 percent were unsure, and 23 percent disagree.

Agreement to have face-to-face classes was higher among classes E and D compared to households in classes ABC.

For respondents with children enrolled in public schools, 62 percent agreed that learners should be allowed to attend physical classes.

When disaggregated by social classes, agreement to have face-to-face classes was again higher among classes D and E compared to classes ABC.

Among parents with children in private schools, agreement to have face-to-face classes was at 46 percent with stronger demand in Classes D and E compared to ABC.

The survey, conducted from June 7 to 16 with 1,200 respondents nationwide, revealed that the incidence of non-enrollment was higher in Class D and Class E compared to Class ABC.

Those who wanted the resumption of face-to-face classes also cited the difficulty in supporting students at home, saying they are not qualified to tutor students at home.

“Clearly, there is a need to bridge the learning divide,” Gatchalian said.

“This is why I filed a bill which aims to provide well-systematized tutorial sessions to learners who did not enroll in SY 2020-2021 and those who struggle to master the required proficiency in Language, Mathematics, and Science,” he emphasized.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture was referring to Senate Bill 2355, which seeks to institute a free national remedial program to be known as the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning or ARAL Program.

“Ang pinsala ng mahigit isang taong pagsasara ng mga paaralan ay mas mabigat para sa ating mga magulang at mag-aaral na nangangailangan. Kailangan nating tiyaking may mga mabisang programa tayong ipapatupad upang hindi sila lalong mapag-iwanan,” Gatchalian said.