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Education oversight bill passed by House on 3rd reading

THE HOUSE of Representatives approved on third reading Wednesday a bill that proposes to grant legislators oversight authority over education to help it recover from the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.

In a vote of 204-0 with 0 abstentions, members of the chamber approved House Bill 10308, which would form a Congressional oversight committee tasked with reviewing, assessing, and recommending courses of action to education agencies such as the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education for three years.

It would also require the committee to prepare a roadmap as part of its final report with key performance indicators for the courses of action that will address the education crisis.

Children, youth, and vulnerable sectors can also be consulted on their education experiences.

A similar group was formed in 1990 known as the Congressional Commission on Education, which recommended alternative learning modes, promotion of Filipino as a mode of instruction, and additional funding for basic education programs, among others.

The measure has been supported by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), which urged President Rodrigo R. Duterte to certify the bill as urgent to drive reforms in education.

PBEd warned earlier this year that the education sector is “in a serious crisis” featuring declining access and quality, citing the findings of the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2018, which concluded that 72% of 15-year-olds in the Philippines are low achievers in Reading, Math, and Science.

The Senate has a counterpart bill pending at the committee level. — Russell Louis C. Ku

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