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DepEd sets strategies to address ‘learning losses’

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
DepEd sets strategies to address âlearning lossesâ
Pupils of Concepcion Elementary School in Marikina attend bridging classes on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. A bridging class is designed for students to catch up the subjects that are needed to be mastered including Math, Science, AP and English.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) has reiterated its commitment to address “learning losses” of Filipino students following school closures and the shift to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DepEd spokesman Michael Poa yesterday said the present administration’s plan is anchored on the four pillars of the Basic Education Development Plan (BEDP) 2030: access, equity, quality and resiliency.

“What’s included in access is also infrastructure, because how will they (students) get access to education if we do not have enough classrooms and facilities?” he said in Filipino.

Equity, meanwhile, means providing all schools with proper funding regardless of where they are located, said Poa.

To ensure quality of education, he said DepEd will focus on improving learning materials and providing teachers with upskilling, reskilling and training to equip them with 21st century skills.

“Lastly is resilience. These are our responses yearly whenever there are calamities or problems like COVID,” he said.

Launched before the end of the previous administration, BEDP 2030 is DepEd’s long-term strategic plan to further improve basic education in the country.

It was also designed to address the immediate impacts of the pandemic on learning, address the remaining gaps on access, improve quality of education and build resilience for the entire sector.

Learning poverty

A recent report released by the World Bank highlighted how school closures and other disruptions have sharply increased learning poverty worldwide.

The report also showed that even before the pandemic, the Philippines is already among the countries with the highest learning poverty worldwide.

It cited 2019 data showing 90.9 percent of Filipino children are “unable to read and understand a simple passage by age 10.”

“Without urgent action to reduce learning poverty, we face a learning and human capital catastrophe,” read the report.

“If children do not acquire the basics of literacy – together with numeracy and other foundational skills – the futures of hundreds of millions of children around the world, and their societies, are at grave risk,” it added.

The World Bank recommended a RAPID framework to address the learning crisis. These include reaching every child and keeping them in school; assessing learning levels regularly; prioritizing the teaching of fundamentals; increasing the efficiency of instruction, including through catch-up learning and develop psychosocial health and well-being.

“To lead to broad, sustained acceleration of learning, these short-term interventions must be implemented at scale, and this implementation must be part of a national strategy of structural reforms over the longer term,” read the report.

“With the urgent implementation of these policies, it is possible to recover and accelerate learning and to build more effective, equitable and resilient education systems,” it added.

Assistance for housewives

House committee on ways and means chairman Joey Salceda yesterday sought assistance for housewives not covered by the conditional cash transfer program 4Ps to address “learning poverty” in the country.

“Inflation is the biggest enemy now but the kind of inflation we are fighting is the inflation that is more perverse because it hurts learning,” he noted at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, citing the World Bank report.

Salceda added this problem is brought about by the high cost of food, such as protein-rich meat, that are needed by children for their mental and physical growth.

The lawmaker is proposing that families who have children not yet going to school also be given financial support.

“I think it’s around 3.4 million. These are the mothers who have children that are not yet of school age and they are not earning,” he said.

Salceda added the government should not wait for these children to go to school before they are included in 4Ps because the formative years of a child are five years and below.

The 4Ps program covers poorest families who have children that are going to school.

At the Senate, Sen. Loren Legarda is pushing a measure that seeks to adopt a system that promotes food waste reduction through redistribution and recycling, as over three million Filipinos are experiencing hunger.

Legarda recognized the country’s severe problem with food security and the rising issue of food wastage, and thus filed Senate Bill 240 or the Zero Food Waste Act of 2022 to resolve food security and wastage.

The measure also seeks to task specific government agencies to undertake the National Zero Food Waste Campaign and raise awareness of these issues and construct a Food-related Business Waste Reduction Strategy and a Household and Local Government Unit Waste Reduction Strategy.

“Our country is rich in food resources, yet millions of Filipinos cannot afford three meals a day. The excess edible supply of food must be highlighted and utilized in order to feed the millions of hungry Filipinos. This would help alleviate not only the problem of food security but also food waste,” she said.

Quoting a recent Social Weather Stations survey, Legarda said approximately 3.1 million Filipinos or 12.2 percent of the country’s total population experienced hunger during the first quarter of 2022. –  Sheila Crisostomo, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Rainier Allan Ronda

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