EdCom II and the promise of hope | Inquirer Opinion

EdCom II and the promise of hope

/ 04:10 AM March 29, 2023

The past three months of the Second Congressional Commission on Education’s (EdCom II) official existence have been an intensive deep dive into the challenges of the Philippine education sector. Policymakers, experts, and stakeholders have now formed committees that will take on the different aspects of the industry, and will seek to assess the sector, and recommend solutions to the growing learning crisis that we now face post-pandemic.

Much has been said about our rankings in international standardized assessments, such as Programme for International Student Assessment and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. Anecdotal evidence, however, yields sobering results on the ground. Secondary school teachers tell of Grade 9 and 10 students who still cannot read or are unfamiliar with basic mathematical concepts. Teachers decry the deluge of paperwork that hampers their effectiveness in the classroom. And students sound the horn on the constant, cyclical need to produce output and tasks. Clearly, there is something wrong.


EdCom II seeks to mitigate and reverse this learning crisis. We see hope at the end of the tunnel. The primary tools that we wield are effective, data-driven policies that address the root causes of the problem.

In the past few months, we have formulated a total of 28 priority areas that span four standing committees.


Priority areas under the scope of Early Childhood Education and Basic Education include nutrition and feeding, parental perceptions and engagement in childhood education, textbook development and distribution, and strategies to address the gaps in terms of school infrastructure.

Higher Education concerns deal with access to quality higher education, including graduate education, and the efficiency of public and private higher ed provision.

Priorities in Teacher Education and Development include the alignment of Commission on Higher Education, Professional Regulation Commission, and Department of Education on improving the quality of our teachers, as well as preservice, and in-service training.

Technical-Vocational Education and Training and Lifelong Learning concerns are focused on connecting the supply of workers and skills with the demands of industry, as well as recognition of nonformal and informal learning.

Priority areas under Governance and Finance seek to address issues on complementarity between public and private education, seamless and integrated delivery of services, and decentralization of education governance.

Lastly, one cross-cutting priority area will focus on the connectedness of learner pathways throughout the system.

These priority areas are led by stakeholders in the industry, composed of our advisory council and members of our standing committees from the academe, industry, and even representatives from local government units. Helping us is the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, as well as other agencies, universities, and research centers, to ensure that we are guided by empirical data—not just anecdotal evidence that may not be fit for the educational communities that we seek to help.


We know that there are bright spots around the country. For instance, Valenzuela City was given a Galing Pook award for their Education 360° Investment Program, which entailed the active participation of parents in educating their children. Likewise, Upi, Maguindanao’s Project Rendaw, involved the whole community who worked hand-in-hand to provide quality education for their children. We are continuously on the lookout for bright spots like Valenzuela and Upi that have proven that all is not lost when the learner is at the heart of public service and community action.

In the months ahead, we also seek to spark meaningful conversations with students, teachers, principals, parents, and other stakeholders through consultations on the ground, as well as via social media and other digital platforms.

Now is the time to act. Now is the time we raise the standards (#ItaasAngAntas) of our education system. While we are sometimes struck in awe at the monumental task before us, we take to heart the hopes and dreams of Filipinos invested in education. We share their aspiration for a brighter, more meaningful, and more rewarding education system for each and every Filipino learner.


Dr. Karol Mark Yee is executive director of EdCom II. Created by Republic Act No. 11899, EdCom II is a body that will assess the education sector of the country, and will recommend policies and laws for its improvement. More information can be found at www.edcom2.gov.ph.

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