With the incoming administration poised to review the K to 12 program education program, Senator Win Gatchalian suggested to fine-tune the K to 3 curriculum to make it more focused on literacy and numeracy.
Gatchalian, who is expected to retain chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture in the 19th Congress, said large-scale international assessments showed that the country’s learners are struggling in the critical learning areas of Math and Reading.
“This will have negative and long-term consequences on their future and the country as a whole, Gatchalian said.
The senator also cited the observation of experts who flagged the K to 12 curriculum, saying it is too overcrowded and needed decongesting.
Because the students were required to learn too many competencies, he said the overload affected their ability to master basic competencies.
To address learning loss because of the COVID-19 school closures, Gatchalian proposed learning recovery programs that are intensive on reading and numeracy.
In Senate Bill No. 2355 or the Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act, filed during the recently concluded 18th Congress, Gatchalian’s proposed learning recovery program covers the most essential learning competencies under Language and Mathematics for Grades 1 to 10 and Science for Grades 3 to 10.
He said reading will also be prioritized to develop critical and analytical thinking skills of learners.
“Literacy and numeracy competencies will be given focus for Kindergarten learners to build on their foundational competencies.”
According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2019, only 19 percent of Grade 4 learners in the Philippines met the minimum benchmark level required in Math.
Using pre-pandemic data, the World Bank estimated that learning poverty in the Philippines for 2021 is already at 90.5 percent. Learning poverty is defined as the percentage of children aged 10 who cannot read or understand a simple story. The World Bank also warns that because of COVID-19 school closures, learning poverty will rise by 10% in lower-middle income countries like the Philippines.