/ 12 December 2020

SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday sought changes to the K to 12 program as he sounded the alarm on a ‘major crisis’ in basic education.

The senator was distressed by the result of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2019 which showed Grade 4 Filipino learners lagging behind their counterparts from 57 countries in Science and Math.

Filipino students got the lowest score of 297 in Mathematics and 249 in Science.

The Philippines also lagged behind other countries in the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics in 2019 and the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2018.

“This is a major crisis. The country has been participating in global assessments as an additional tool to measure the effectiveness of the basic education curriculum. The dismal result for the third time is so depressing and should serve as a wake-up call,” Gatchalian said.

Among the Filipino learners who participated in the TIMSS, zero percent achieved scores within the highest tier or Advanced International Benchmark with 625 average score for both Mathematics and Science.

Gatchalian said that the report showed a pattern of Filipino learners failing to master basic competencies and underperforming among their peers in regional and global assessments.

The lawmaker warned that the failure to implement reforms would only aggravate this learning crisis.

He reiterated the need to decongest the K to 12 curriculum to shift its focus on boosting learners’ basic competencies in Reading, Writing, Math, and Science.

Gatchalian also emphasized the need to ensure that teachers are capable of teaching the K to 12 curriculum. He recently filed Senate Bill 1887 or the Teacher Education Council Act, which aims to reform teacher education and training in the country.

“Kailangan nating ituring na nasa ilalim na ng isang malawakang krisis ang ating sistema ng edukasyon. Hindi na natin kailangang patagalin pa ang pagsulong sa mga reporma dahil kung hindi, patuloy na mahuhuli at mapag-iiwanan ang ating mga mag-aaral,” the senator said.