July 19, 2022

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Marcos administration tackles education, social service concerns

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s third Cabinet meeting focused on the plans of the education and social welfare agencies, his office said on Tuesday.

The Department of Education, which is headed by Vice President Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio discussed its priority programs and projects for basic education, Press Secretary Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Cruz-Angeles said in a statement.

Policymakers are now discussing reforms in the education sector, as the Philippines has been rocked by reports that learners have been falling below the expected minimum levels of proficiency.

The education crisis has been aggravated by the physical closure of schools in the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Philippines having the longest ban on in-person classes.

The Marcos administration is now backing calls for the review of the country’s ten-year-old education curriculum, also known as the K-12 program, which extended the basic education period to include two additional years in the secondary level with the goal of giving learners opportunities to acquire the necessary skills demanded by the labor market.

Almost a decade after the implementation of the K-12 program, which was designed to comply with global standards, Filipino learners hardly excel as shown in major assessment tests.

A recent Pulse Asia survey commissioned by a senator showed 44% of adults are not satisfied with the K-12 program.

Ms. Duterte-Carpio has said the program’s review is already in progress.

At the same meeting, the Department of Social Welfare and Development “presented its own programs and projects,” Ms. Cruz-Angeles said.

“Of note is Sec. Erwin Tulfo’s declaration that in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), at least 1.3 million beneficiaries out of 4.4 are no longer considered ‘poor’,” she said.

“This frees up P15 billion for other qualified persons to replace them and now be included in the said program.”

The 4Ps program is a conditional cash transfer scheme intended for the country’s poorest families. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza