MANILA — EDCOM 2 Co-Chairperson Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called on the Department of Education on Friday to open up education-related data for analysis during a meeting on learning loss recovery with DepEd and stakeholders.
“I heard mention about opening up the data sets. I think that’s an admission that we need help from the experts, that’s a good admission. We also encourage the private sector to help analyze the data,” Gatchalian said. He added that “DepEd should also develop its own capability and analysis because we will also rely on those analyses”.
The discussion was part of EDCOM 2’s Sub-Committee on Basic Education Meeting on learning losses and interventions, which featured DepEd officials and private-sector stakeholders sharing insights on how to mitigate and recover from learning losses suffered by Filipino students during the COVID19 Pandemic.
DepEd’s National Learning Recovery Program
Presenting the National Learning Recovery Program (NLRP) of DepEd, Assistant Secretary for Curriculum and Teaching Alma Ruby Torio noted that, while learning losses have been observed around the world, the Philippines’ is reported to be in severe levels. “For sampled Grade 6 learners, a significant learning loss was detected in Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking”, Asec. Torio said.
The NLRP intends to mitigate the effects of learning loss through four distinct programs: the National Reading Program, the National Math Program, the National Science & Technology Program, and the Learning Camp. Asec. Torio further added that “the NLRP has to be learners-centered, learners-focused, and that no one is left behind.
DepEd also detailed its plans for the National Learning Camp: a two-fold program that aims to improve learning either in the form of enrichment, intervention, or remediation held at every end of the school year break. Starting this year in July, the Department plans to prioritize Grades 1-3 learners for Reading, and Grades 8-10 students for STEM and English.
Learning loss interventions by stakeholders
A discussion on interventions to mitigate learning loss was also conducted with stakeholders in the education sector.
Ms. Ina Aquino, of ABC+, a project by DepEd in partnership with USAID, explained their efforts in the program’s focus areas, namely Region V, Region VI, and Maguindanao and Cotabato City Special Geographic Area (SGA).
DepEd Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad of Region V discussed his area’s Learning Recovery Plan, implemented last school year. According to Dir. Sadsad, the Plan was designed for Grades 1, 2, and 3, and focused on foundational skills in literacy and numeracy. Dir. Sadsad narrated that, by focusing on learning remediation in the early years, learners saw improvements and became “grade ready” within the program’s implementation period of eight weeks.
Geomel Jetonzo, Director of the Brigada Pagbasa program of World Vision Philippines, discussed the Literacy and Numeracy Diagnostic and Proficiency Assessment Tool (DAPAT), which diagnosed learners’ literacy by skill level at understanding letters, words, paragraphs, and concepts.
Jaton Zulueta of AHA! Learning Center discussed an Empathy Informed Learning System, where academic interventions are targeted by skill level, rather than grade level. The system reported 75% improved learning outcomes, and that 86% of students have more confidence in doing their lessons independently and reciting in class.
De La Salle University’s Dr. Miguel Rapatan cited his study, commissioned by the Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC), and exhorted schools to expand their current concepts of learning loss and learning recovery actions by emphasizing the gathering and use of data.
Joel Santos of Thames International School discussed the Philippine Assessment for Learning Loss Solutions (PALLS): a test conducted with 3,600 private school Grades 1-12 students from 18 schools, most of them garnered below passing marks. Santos cautioned that “the older the student, the lower the results”. He noted that, while mean score trends across grade levels, the magnitude of learning loss is much higher at the upper-grade levels.
Undersecretary for Curriculum and Teaching Gina Gonong shared that they are currently analyzing the data so that learner needs across the country could be disaggregated at the municipality/division level, and could be shared with partners. She also mentioned that the Department will be inviting potential partners to a Stakeholders Forum this July to share their analysis, and to systematize engagement in combating learning loss.
“Rolling out a massive intervention program is really daunting. Rolling it out as fast as we can, as even as possible, taking into consideration the need to make it robust and customized to the needs of our learners is really challenging, but I’m happy to see that there are things moving,” Senator Gatchalian said.
“What we need is national consolidated data and analysis because from my point of view, when we allocate the budget, we need to justify that budget. And we also need to look at the bigger picture. Of course, the granular, municipality, division data are very important but from a policy point of view, we also need to look at the bigger picture,” Senator Gatchalian added.
Ed’s note: EDCOM 2 is the Congressional body created through RA11899, tasked to undertake a comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the performance of the Philippine education sector. In the next three years, it will also recommend legislation that aims to address the education crisis in the country.