Co-Authorship and Co-Sponsorship Remarks: ARAL Program Act

Mr. President, as an advocate of quality education and brighter future for the Filipino children, this representation, with the permission of the sponsor, would like to have the honor to be a co-author and co-sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1604 under Committee Report No. 17 submitted by the Committees on Basic Education; Ways and Means; and Finance, entitled, “An Act Establishing an Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes”.  Authored and sponsored by Senator Win Gatchalian, our chairperson who is a steadfast champion of quality and inclusive education for all, this piece of legislation will be beneficial to our children, especially those who were marginalized because of the recent events in our country.

We have all seen how our children suffered from the interruption in education brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  For one, many students were not able to enroll during the height of the pandemic in school year 2020-2021 because of health and financial reasons.  For those who were able to continue their schooling, the challenges of the new modalities of teaching limited their ability to learn.  Truly, it was a difficult time for the students, as well as for the other stakeholders in education, particularly teachers and parents.

Ngunit sa totoo lamang, ang pagbibigay ng kalidad na edukasyon sa ating bansa ay matagal na nating suliranin.  Ito ay bunsod ng maraming dahilan at patuloy naman itong sinisikap na tugunan ng ating pamahalaan.  Subalit hindi pa din sapat ang mga hakbang na kasalukuyan nating ginagawa.

Various surveys and studies reflect the deplorable state of education in our country:

  • According to the world bank, pre-pandemic learning poverty in the Philippines is 90.5%.  this translates to nine (9) out of every ten (10) Filipino learners aged 10 who are unable to read and understand simple text.  
  • In 2021, our ranking in the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring report declined from  52nd in 2020 to 55th.[1]
  • Our ranking in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) was rated last in reading, and second to last in science and mathematics among 79 countries.[2]
  • In the fourth-grade assessment of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMS) in 2019, the country placed last among 58 countries in both mathematics and science.[3]
  • In the Southeast Asia primary learning metrics in 2019, the country landed in the bottom half of the six (6) countries in reading, mathematics, and writing literacy.[4]

These figures, however disheartening, serve as a challenge to our legislators to craft a piece of legislation that will respond to our limitations by harnessing resources outside the formal educational system.

The ARAL Program Act is one innovative approach to address the learning gaps being experienced by our students.  Through the help of para-teachers and qualified college students, among others, we will be able to help them have better learning and comprehension of essential learning competencies in language, mathematics, and science.

Sa pamamagitan ng pagtutulungan ng iba’t ibang miyembro ng ating lipunan bilang tutors, matutulungan natin ang ating mga mag-aaral na kailangan ng karagdagang pag-gabay habang binibigyan din natin ng insentibo ang mga nasabing tutors.  Ito ang matatawag nating “win-win solution” dahil ang lahat ng nakikilahok sa ARAL program ay makikinabang tungo sa kanilang pag-unlad.

Mr. President, I am in full support for the swift passage of the ARAL Program Act and I would like to congratulate our chairperson, Senator Gatchalian, for a commendable endeavor.

Thank you, Mr. President.

[1] Education 5.0 | The Manila Times

[2] DepEd says poor PH ranking in education report ‘a challenge’ | ABS-CBN News

[3] DepEd says poor PH ranking in education report ‘a challenge’ | ABS-CBN News

[4] DepEd says poor PH ranking in education report ‘a challenge’ | ABS-CBN News