Metro Manila legislator urges P-Noy to strengthen RP's basic formal education program

July 18, 2010 11:50 am 

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, July 17 — A lawmaker is urging President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to strengthen the country's basic 10-year formal education program by requiring students to attend at least an additional two years of middle school so they can be more competitive.

"This will be a good legacy for President Aquino to leave," Valenzuela City Rep. Magi Gunigundo said at the weekly Kapihan sa Sulo forum in Quezon City Saturday.

He raised urgency for such action, noting that data show students post increasing lackluster performance in achievement tests.

"Many countries don't accept our graduates because of the education program's deficiency," he said.

Gunigundo is supporting proposals for requiring middle school attendance as he said the country's existing basic formal education program is insufficient to provide students the educational preparation needed for either higher learning or working here and abroad.

Students have less time studying what they should since the existing program compresses within a 10-year period teaching for the increasing number of required elementary and high school subject matters, he noted.

"Our students' comprehension is therefore very shallow," he observed.

He said other countries offer 12- and even 14-year basic formal education programs so learning experience of students there is more comprehensive.

"The Philippines is the only Asian country with 10 years of basic formal education – this is a short period so students' learning is half-baked only," he said.

Gunigundo believes including a middle school after sixth grade and before the first year of high school can help address such inadequacy.

This will give students more time to better study subject matters and to develop critical thinking, he noted.

Gunigundo hopes Malacanang can act on the matter as soon as possible, particularly as he believes negative effects of the education program's deficiency are becoming more evident.

Citing latest available data, he reported students from Metro Manila and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) posted almost the same performance level during an achievement test.

Metro Manila is the Philippines' top urban hub while ARMM is among the least developed regions nationwide.

Neither area landed in that test's top spot, Gunigundo noted.

Gunigundo isn't discounting the possibility that government might have to provide some subsidy so students from the most marginalized sector can attend middle school.

"We'll study what their subsidy needs will be," he said.

He urged the public to consider the long-term benefits of adding two years to the existing basic formal education program, however.

"Children will be more employable later in life as they'll be better trained," he said. (PNA)

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