Gatchalian requests an investigation of the effects of COVID-19 school closures before the start of classes

Gatchalian requests an investigation of the effects of COVID-19 school closures before the start of classes

By Liza Soriano

MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian is requesting an investigation of the effects of the COVID-19 school closures, as well as recovery strategies for the elementary education sector.

In filing proposed Senate Resolution No. 11, Gatchalian seeks to identify and address the gaps in the Department of Education’s (DepEd) programs for learning continuity.

“Upang matiyak natin ang pagbangon ng sektor ng edukasyon, nais nating suriin at maunawaan ang pinsalang dulot ng pandemya ng COVID-19. Kasunod nito ang pagpapatupad natin ng mga hakbang upang hindi mapag-iwanan ang ating mga mag-aaral,” the senator said.

While the DepEd worked to mitigate the pandemic’s impact, Gatchalian noted that the basic education sector faced various issues, including enormous learning and long-term economic losses, which exacerbated the country’s learners’ already dismal performance since the pre-pandemic period.

According to a joint report by UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank, learning poverty in the Philippines before the COVID-19 pandemic was at 90.5%. Learning poverty is the share of children aged 10 who cannot read or understand a simple story. According to the joint report, learning poverty in countries like the Philippines could increase by as much as 10 percentage points because of school closures.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) also estimates that a year of school closures is equivalent to P10.7 trillion in long-term productivity and income losses over the next 40 years.(ai/mtvn)

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