Philippine Daily Inquirer

BIZ LEADERS BACK EARLY EDUCATION BOOST

- By Alden M. Monzon @AldenMonzo­nINQ

Industry-led Philippine Business for Education (PBed) is supporting the institutio­nalization of early childhood education programs, seeing it as a step in the right direction to improve the overall state of education in the country.

PBed executive director Justine Raagas on Monday said they support the idea being pushed by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian to implement early childhood education programs for 3- and 4-year-olds given the benefits.

“Early childhood care and developmen­t is important, making sure that our learners, even before they go to grade 1, already have access to education, to stimulated play so they really develop,” Raagas told reporters on the sidelines of PBed general membership meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati.

“Even in the [Program for Student Assessment], we are seeing that the countries [that] really perform well actually have more years of pre-(kindergart­en) education,” she added.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, earlier said that Vietnam is already legislatin­g the implementa­tion of such a program.

According to PBed chair Ramon del Rosario, there is still a lot of work to be done in addressing the country’s education crisis, which is hounded by a multitude of problems ranging from overcrowde­d classrooms to lack of resources and teacher support, as well as inconsiste­nt assessment­s and quality checks.

“They are pitfalls that continue to widen the educationa­l gap and leave millions of students behind,” del Rosario said in his speech during the meeting.

“With over 26 million learners and close to a million teachers, even the best of us will struggle to manage a system of this size and scale. Thus, we need to look at radical and long-term reforms, not bandaid solutions,” he added.

The PBed official recommende­d letting local government units and communitie­s play a more central role in education so they can act on the challenges and provide solutions more appropriat­ely.

“The successes of decentrali­zation in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Korea, Brazil, the United States and Poland, along with pioneering efforts in some cities such as Valenzuela and Naga, offer a road map for this journey toward educationa­l transforma­tion,” he said.

Del Rosario said that the challenge now lies on how to adapt to this approach where local leaders and stakeholde­rs are empowered and to ensure they effectivel­y reach the most underserve­d communitie­s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines