The chairman of the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means on Saturday proposed a “comprehensive education reform agenda” in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive requiring the Department of Education to study changes to the K-12 program.
Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, the panel’s chairman, said he will file a bill on the subject after Education Secretary Leonor Briones discussed with President Duterte the results of the Program for International Student Assessment, which showed that Filipino students ranked the lowest among 79 countries in reading comprehension, and second to the lowest in math and science.
“In the coming days, I will be filing the most comprehensive education reform agenda ever introduced in Congress after the People Power Revolt,” Salceda said.
Salceda’s 10-point agenda for Education: Equitable funding for all schools, with a preferential approach to public schools in poor areas; institute a teacher-supportive, teacher-empowering education system; expanded after-school and remedial education program; universal access to nutrition in public schools; expanded school-community relations, with schools as community centers; “Build, Build, Build” for education; safer schools for teachers and students: empowering special education facilities; comprehensive Workforce Development for the 21st Century and optional adoption of the mother-tongue-based learning.
“This country’s most valuable resource, its most productive asset, is the Filipino people. And education is the greatest investment you can make on your people,” Salceda said.
Salceda said his initiative is part of his “National Economic Resiliency Agenda,” which includes countryside development, human capital development, disaster mitigation and adaptation, urban-rural linkages, and rapid and sustained economic expansion.
As for funding sources for his comprehensive education agenda, Salceda said seeking out public resources is part of his duty as chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
“I am co-responsible for finding the means to fund these programs through new revenue measures. But I must say that modifying K to 12, if we find that it has not worked, should not be off the table. I would like to hear the thoughts of Secretary Briones on the matter,” Salceda said.
“What’s clear is it’s not the length of time that improves education quality. Spending more years in bad schools won’t improve education outcomes. Good schools will. My agenda is to make schools better,” Salceda added.
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