A lawmaker on Sunday suggested not to overload the kindergarten to Grade 3 pupils with many subjects so that they can focus on reading, mathematics and good manners and right conduct (GMRC).
House Committee on Basic Education and Culture chair Roman Romulo made the remark after the Philippines ranked poorest among 79 countries when it comes to students' reading comprehension, according to the results of the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment.
Romulo said that since August this year, educators have suggested that the Department of Education (DepEd) reduce the number of subjects in the kindergarten to Grade 3 so that pupils can focus on the most basic ones.
"Dapat GMRC, mathematics, at reading. Basic lang. Dapat tadtarin natin na dapat makapagbasa, matutong magbasa at makapag-comprehend Grade 1 pa lamang," he said.
According to Romulo, the scores that the Philippines received in PISA 2018 are not far from the results of the National Achievement Test (NAT), an examination administered to Grade 6 and Grade 10 students to gauge their learning competencies.
"Kung titingnan natin yung resulta, yung scores, halos pareho naman, hindi naman nalalayo," he said.
"Ang NAT kasi, sa Pilipinas lang yun. Pero doon, bagamat sa Pilipinas lang ang exam na yan, makikita natin doon yung percentage ng readers, yung frustrated readers," he added.
Romulo said that even in the Grade 6 and Grade 10 levels, there are frustrated readers among Filipino students, as shown by NAT results.
"Kaya dapat huwag na natin masyadong bigatan ng iba-ibang subjects yung Grades 1 to 3. Dapat basic lang, reading, mathematics, and GMRC. Anyway sa reading classes, pwede nang may matutunan ng current events doon," he said.
The DepEd has already vowed "aggressive reforms" in key areas of the basic education system amid the Philippines' poor showing in reading comprehension in PISA 2018.
Likewise, it said it would lead the national effort for quality basic education through Sulong Edukalidad by implementing reforms in four key areas: (1) K to 12 review and updating, (2) Improvement of learning facilities, (3) Teachers and school heads’ up-skilling and re-skilling through a transformed professional development program; and (4) engagement of all stakeholders for support and collaboration.
"We envision that no Filipino learners should be left behind and it takes a nation to educate a child. Hence, DepEd calls the entire nation to take active involvement, cooperation, and collaboration in advancing the quality of basic education in the Philippines," Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said. —Erwin Colcol/LBG, GMA News