/ 9 August 2023

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday stressed the importance of early childhood care and development in enhancing learners’ performance to reverse the education crisis hounding the country.

Based on the the results of the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics and analysis by the senator’s office, one year of attendance in an early childhood education program is correlated to 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 showed that 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,” Gatchalian said.

The chairman 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 percent 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 percent 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.

The senator is the author of the Basic Education and Early Childhood Education Alignment Act or Senate Bill 2029, which seeks to ensure the alignment of the ECCD curriculum and the K to 12 basic education curriculum.

The measure also aims to impose greater responsibilities on local government units on the implementation of ECCD programs.