Senator wants learning recovery plan covered in DepEd budget

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Senator wants learning recovery plan covered in DepEd budget
Teachers and students from Malanday Elementary School join the third quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) on September 7, 2023.
STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) should ensure that its proposed budget for 2024 would cover and address the learning loss resulting from school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

“Since we are still recovering from the impact of the COVID pandemic, we want to make sure that there are funds for learning recovery under the DepEd’s 2024 budget,” Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, said.

During the Senate committee on finance hearing on the proposed budget of the DepEd and its attached agencies, the senator asked the DepEd to submit its budgetary requirements for the implementation of learning recovery measures.

While the DepEd said that it could tap around P4 billion allotted under the Basic Education Curriculum, Gatchalian quizzed the agency whether it has enough allocation to reach learners needing the most intervention.

The agency said it would officially submit its budgetary requirements to implement learning recovery.

The World Bank estimated that as of June last year, learning poverty in the Philippines had stood at 90.9 percent.

The DepEd previously announced that it is implementing the National Reading Camp, the National Mathematics Program and the National Science and Technology Program to combat learning losses during the pandemic.

The agency also implemented the National Learning Camp (NLC) during the end-of-the-school-year break for School Year 2022-2023.

The NLC, however, is a voluntary program that started its phased implementation with Grades 7 and 8, focusing on science, English and mathematics.

Gatchalian said programs for learning recovery should be designed to capture students who are struggling to master the competencies required of them to ensure the efficient allocation and utilization of resources.

The senator filed Senate Bill 1604, or the proposed ARAL Program Act, to accelerate learning recovery, thus, mitigate learning loss and address the pandemic’s impact.

The proposed ARAL program targets to include learners who are below the minimum proficiency levels required in language, mathematics and science.

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