Solon pushes for reforms as chair of 19th Congress’ Basic Education panel

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian vowed to continue pursuing reforms that will address the country’s education crisis and improve the performance of its learners.

This, as he will keep the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture chairmanship in the 19th Congress. Among Gatchalian’s priorities are the full resumption of face-to-face classes, review of the K-12 system, and the upholding teachers’ welfare.

The lawmaker also affirmed to exercise the Senate’s oversight power on the implementation of landmark laws that he sponsored in the 18th Congress. These include the Alternative Learning System Act (Republic Act 11510), Excellence in Teacher Education Act (RA 11713), and Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act (RA 11650).

The solon also sponsored the proposed measure on the creation of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II). It seeks to conduct a national assessment and evaluation of the local education sector’s performance.

He pressed as urgent the resumption of face-to-face classes to address learning loss during the pandemic. The National Economic and Development Authority deemed that the two years of school closures would result in productivity losses worth P22 trillion.

Promoting teachers’ welfare, Gatchalian has urged the incoming Marcos Jr. administration to ensure the full rollout of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670).

For the senator, the incoming administration should prioritize raising teacher salaries and ensure adequate health insurance for teachers. He added the Education Department should follow the recommendation of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies to conduct studies on teachers’ workload, which will rationalize the job function of public school teachers, and allow them to allocate more time for teaching.

Gatchalian recently presented Committee Report 645 on the inquiry of the Senate’s basic education panel on the implementation of the Magna Carta, which was eventually adopted.

He said in Filipino that continuing his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture will prioritize the crisis response on the Philippine education sector by elevating the quality of learning and upholding teachers’ welfare as the country rises from the scourge of the pandemic.

Image credits: Mark Cayabyab/OS WIin Gatchalian

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