Press Release
February 28, 2011

Congress proposes oversight committee to review education system

Congress is proposing to create a congressional oversight committee on education to review, assess and evaluate the performance of institutions responsible for the country's basic education, higher education and manpower development.

Angara, chairman of the committees on education, arts and culture, said he has recently filed Resolution No. 6 which seeks to modernize the education system so that the country can keep up with global demands and technology.

Angara chaired the first Congressional Committee on Education (EDCOM) in 1990 which tri-focalized the educational system into the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

"The Philippine education system has failed to respond to the changing needs of our time. Clearly, we need to undertake deep reforms to save our ailing education system," Angara said during his sponsorship speech today.

A similar resolution was filed by Representatives Salvador Escudero III, chairman of the House committee on basic education, and Juan Edgardo Angara, chairman of the House committee on higher education.

Angara said the oversight committee will be composed of five members of the House of Representatives and five members of the Senate to be designated by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate.

He said the body will produce a report of its finding and formulating short and long-term policy recommendations in the areas of sectoral plans and targets, governance and management, educational/manpower development curriculum and programs, education financing and the convergence of various departments and sector with human resource management. "The Committee shall accomplish its mandate within three years from its organization and that in order to carry out the objectives of the resolution, P10,000,000 shall be charged annually against the budget of the Senate and another P10,000,000 shall be charged against the budget of the House of Representatives, both for a period of three years, to commence on 2011," Angara disclosed.

Data from the latest National Achievement Test conducted among 1.6 million Grade VI students showed a mean percentage score (MPS) of 59.9 percent.

This means that for every 10 items, a Grade VI student can only correctly answer five items, Angara said.

Likewise, Angara pointed out, a fourth year high school student can only answer four out of 10 items correctly. He pegged percentage among high school students at a low 44.33 percent, with science score at 37.98 percent.

A High School Readiness Test conducted among Grade Six pupils also showed that only 0.67 percent got at least a passing grade of 75. This indicates that only 8,043 Grade Six pupils out of the 1.2 million who took the test, have mastered the basic competencies in Science, English and Math and are ready to move to high school.

Compounding the problem, Angara noted, is the perennial lack of textbooks, classrooms and school buildings.

"While other factors explain these poor performances, one critical factor - the quality and number of teachers - egregiously stands out. There are more non-majors teaching science subjects than teachers with science degrees. For instance, 90 percent of physics teachers are not physics majors and 80 percent of chemistry teachers are not chemistry majors," Angara stressed.

According to Angara, statistics on access to primary education showed that only 83 percent are enrolled while 17 percent are out-of-school youths who will be handicapped for life. The numbers are even worse in secondary education where 59 percent are enrolled or 41 percent do not get high school knowledge.

"Our education disaster is characterized by the progressively declining access of Filipino children to education. If the trend continues, we will have a population of a bigger out-of-school population than in-school population," Angara warned.

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