By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for increased local government involvement in improving the delivery and quality of basic education in the country.
The senator cited the crucial role that local governments played to ensure learning continuity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the proximity of local governments to their constituencies allows them to be more responsive and flexible when it comes to their needs.
Gatchalian is said to retain his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture under the 19th Congress.
Gatchalian added that incoming Secretary of Education Sara Duterte-Carpio can mobilize local governments to increase their involvement in education. By winning more than 61 percent of votes during last May’s elections, the Vice President-elect has the political capital to effectively implement reforms that will address the education crisis, he said.
“Nakita natin nitong panahon ng pandemya kung gaano kahalaga ang papel ng mga lokal na pamahalaan upang matiyak ang pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon, lalo na’t mas nauunawaan nila ang pangangailangan ng mga mag-aaral at mga guro sa kanilang mga nasasakupan. Sa pagpasok ng bagong administrasyon, kailangang palawigin din natin ang papel ng lokal na pamahalaan at gawin silang katuwang sa pag-angat sa kalidad ng edukasyon,” Gatchalian said.
During the recently concluded 18th Congress, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 1579 or the 21st Century School Boards Act. Under the proposed measure, local school boards will be mandated to formulate and implement reforms and policies to improve the quality of education.
The success of these programs will be measured based on indicators such as the participation rate of students, the number of dropouts and out-of-school youth, achievement scores in national tests, assessment tools, and other standardized test scores, among others.
The establishment of child development centers, support for special education, and Alternative Learning System (ALS) are also included in the success metrics of these programs.
Gatchalian also proposed to expand the use of the Special Education Fund to cover salaries of public elementary and high school teachers, salaries of preschool teachers, the capital outlay for pre-schools, and operation and maintenance of ALS, among others. (ai/mtvn)