June 11, 2012
HOUSE URGED TO PRIORITIZE PASSAGE OF EARLY EDUCATION ACT
Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the House of Representatives to pass their counterpart measure on the Early Years Act (EYA) once Congress reopens in July for the benefit 12 million Filipino children zero to four years old.
"EYA will make early childhood education a national responsibility to equalize opportunities available to all Filipino children," said Angara, head of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and author of the measure.
"There are 12 million kids today from the ages zero to four. Only 3 million of these are enrolled in day-care centers. Thus, the EYA is also set to benefit the remaining 9 million children not accommodated and reached by the existing system," he explained.
"If passed, early childhood education will significantly reduce repetition and dropout rates in the country. Quality early childhood education has been shown to improve the scholastic abilities and school readiness of young children, thereby preventing school dropouts," Angara emphasized.
Said measure will also provide community training to arm parents with the information, skills and support systems needed as the primary caregivers and educators of their children. This home-based approach will reach more children rather than the present "center-based" approach.
The Senate has already passed the amended EYA (Senate Bill 3206) after the original bill was vetoed by the President. "I hope the House of Representatives will prioritize the passage of the counterpart measure of the amended bill as they had supported the passage of the original measure."
The amended bill defines early childhood education as education from age zero to four to differentiate it from kindergarten which is from ages five to six. Under this law, existing day care workers will be professionalized and offered continuing professional development programs to enable them to implement the Early Childhood Care and Development Council (ECCD Council) Program.
This measure also says that during the two-year transition period, the Council will be transferred temporarily from the Office of the President to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and then to Department of Education (DepEd) as an attached agency. Its governing board shall include the DSWD, Department of Health DOH, National Nutritional Council NNC as members. It shall be headed by a Director General, and a Deputy DG for Administrative and Financial Affairs, and a Deputy DG for ECCD Programs.
For implementation of the Act, the national government, through the PAGCOR, will provide P500 million every year for 5 years.
The former UP President concluded, "EYA is essential to the long-term success of our educational reforms. I urge everyone to support this measure. Education is an investment for our future."
Angara is also the proponent of the recently enacted Kindergarten Education Act (K to12), as well as other landmark education laws such as the Free High School Act, Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE), and the Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM) which led to the trifocalization of the country's educational system into the DepEd, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
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