MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday pushed for the need to improve K to 12 learners’ proficiency in both math and science to foster innovation in the new normal and help in the Philippines’ post-pandemic recovery.
In a statement, Gatchalian said it is crucial to equip learners with strong foundational skills that will boost innovation, which, he said, is important in promoting economic recovery and building resilience, including preparedness for future health threats like the coronavirus pandemic.
He cited the results of the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which showed that among Grade 4 learners who were assessed, only 19 percent had some basic mathematical knowledge, while 13 percent showed limited understanding and knowledge of scientific concepts and foundational science facts.
Another study, the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM), also showed that among Grade 5 learners, only 17 percent developed the proficiency in mathematics to transition to secondary education.
Gatchalian also said that the Philippines ranked second lowest in both math and science in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
While the Department of Education (DepEd) is currently streamlining the K to 12 curriculum, Gatchalian noted that there is also a need to improve the quality of teachers and address issues hounding the “spiral progression approach” mandated in the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10533).
The senator said that the spiral progression approach or the spiral curriculum “exposes learners into a variety of topics and concepts which makes the curriculum crowded.”
“For some, this concept is not conducive to teaching in depth or not helping students master the basic subjects,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
With this, Gatchalian again pushed for the passage of his Senate Bill No. 2152 or the Teacher Education Excellence Act, which seeks to improve the quality of teacher education and training in the country.
The proposed measure also aims to revamp the Teacher Education Council (TEC), and improve the coordination among the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
“This will ensure the link and coherence between pre-service education and in-service education, and improve teacher education outcomes,” he said.