The Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) has started its work of reviewing the country’s education system with the aim of coming up with solutions to the problems plaguing this sector.
Senator Sonny Angara, who was designated as one of the six commissioners of EDCOM 2, took part in the Commission’s first official meeting last week to kickstart the strategic planning for national education assessment.
“Over the next three years EDCOM 2 will undertake an exhaustive assessment of our country’s education system. The task at hand is heavy and critical. We currently have a learning crisis and it is precisely because of this that EDCOM 2 was created. We have to come up with reforms and these will be introduced over the course of the next three years,” Angara said.
Assessments on academic performances conducted over the past three years have revealed worrisome weaknesses among Filipino students when compared to their international counterparts.
In the 2018 round of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Filipino students attained the lowest score for reading and second to the lowest for science and mathematics out of 79 countries surveyed.
The following year, in the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS), which assessed academic performance across 58 countries, the Philippines ranked last for Grade 4 mathematics and science.
Then in the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) study across 6 ASEAN members, Filipino Grade 5 students underperformed in almost all the metrics utilized, with significant proportions scoring lowest in certain proficiencies.
In November 2021, the World Bank reported that 90 percent of Filipino ten-year-olds were possibly thrust into “learning poverty” because of the pandemic, such that they do not know how to read and understand a simple passage of text.
“The establishment of EDCOM 2 was prompted by these alarming developments and our work in the Commission will take these findings into consideration when we come up with policy and legislative reforms to improve the performance of our education system,” Angara said.
EDCOM 2 was established through Republic Act 11899, which lapsed into law on July 23, 2022.
The first EDCOM was chaired by Angara’s father, former Senate President Edgardo Angara, and paved the way for the establishment of the current trifocalized education system in the country.
EDCOM 2 has as its chairpersons Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Francis Escudero and Reps. Roman Romulo and Mark Go.
Apart from Angara, the other Commissioners for EDCOM 2 are Senator Pia Cayetano and Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Reps. Jose Francisco Benitez, Khalid Dimaporo, and Pablo John Garcia.
An Advisory Council has also been formed to provide the Commission with expert assistance and advice. They are former Ateneo de Manila president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres; Dr. Maria Cynthia Rose Bautista, vice president for academic affairs of the University of the Philippines; Alfredo Ayala, president of the National Teachers College; Dr. Meliton Salazar, president and CEO of PHINMA Education/Philippine Business for Education; Rhodora Angela Ferrer, executive director of the Private Education Assistance Committee; Irene Isaac, former director general of TESDA; Pasig City Mayor Victor Ma. Regis Sotto; Taguig City Mayor Maria Laarni Cayetano; Maria Olivia Lucas, president of the Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net Philippines); and Dr. Milwida Guevara, president and CEO of Synergeia Foundation.