Learning recovery at forefront of education agenda, Marcos says on SONA 2023

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Monday that learning recovery will be the top priority of the education sector to address the learning losses among students brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), the President pointed out that alternative delivery modes and blended learning methodologies have been adopted by the Department of Education (DepEd), considering the lessons of the pandemic “to ensure unhampered learning.”

“We have renewed hope in giving the best to our next batches of students, especially that 28.4 million learners who returned to school this year. Learning recovery will be at the forefront of our education agenda,” he said before a joint session of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

The DepEd earlier adopted a National Learning Recovery Program to address the learning gaps that were heightened by school closures and disruption due to the pandemic. It also aims to deal with the “low performance” of learners in international large-scale assessments and national assessments.

Marcos also highlighted the DepEd’s MATATAG Agenda which aims to implement resilient reforms in the curriculum, education services, and provision of facilities, learner wellbeing, and teacher support programs.

School facilities, teachers

Further, Marcos said that public schools and facilities in the country are being increased and fortified.

“The shortage of classrooms and facilities is being addressed. Aside from new constructions, schools and facilities are being retrofitted to become ready for the future–ready for hybrid and high-tech learning, and also climate-ready and disaster-proof,” he said.

In January, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte noted that lack of school infrastructure and facilities remains to be the basic education’s primary problem.

She stressed the need to build and repair school facilities in order to accommodate the learning needs of millions of students in the country, pointing out that only 104,536 out of the 327,851 school buildings in the country were in good condition.

According to her, 100,072 school buildings need minor repairs, 89,252 need major repairs, and 21,727 were set for condemnation.

Another challenge that Duterte pointed out with regard to infrastructure was that schools are not calamity-proof, thus prone to earthquakes, typhoons, landslides, flooding, and even armed conflicts.

Marcos said that through the DepEd Partnership Assistance Portal, private sector partners continue their assistance in the rehabilitation and improvement of schools, as part of their corporate social responsibility programs.

As to teachers, the President also briefly mentioned that 90% of the newly created teaching positions have been filled, while additional administrative personnel have been hired to unburden the teachers.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines earlier called on DepEd to ease the workload of public school teachers and reduce their actual teaching time to four hours daily so they could have more time to prepare their lessons, check outputs, compute grades, and monitor the progress of their students to deliver quality education.

The DepEd, for its part, said it is looking at “reducing or totally eliminating” the administrative and special tasks of teachers. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News

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