Rep. Verzosa urges House to address 'education crisis'

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Photo from Walter De Vera / Filipino Vines

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The country is in the middle of an education crisis, Tutok to Win Party-list Rep. Sam "SV" Verzosa warned, as he called on his colleagues to address the matter.

"Kinumpirma ng isang pag-aaral ng Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) nitong 2022 lamang, na tayo ay nasa education crisis. Sabi ng PIDS experts, Philippine students spend the same number of school hours as those in advanced countries, but they learn less. Kaya we should focus more on improving quality because our attendance rates are already high. Kalidad po ng edukasyon ang problema, kaya tayo ngayon ay nasa education crisis," Verzosa said in a privilege speech on May 22.

[Translation: A study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in 2022 confirmed we are in an education crisis. PIDS experts said Philippine students spend the same number of school hours as those in advanced countries, but they learn less. That's why we should focus more on improving quality because our attendance rates are already high. The problem is with the quality of education, that's why we are in an education crisis.]

The lawmaker also pushed for the passage of the "no homework policy" and the adoption of the progressive system of education. He cited several studies, results of standardized tests, and publications by academic and research institutions, which show the Philippines' low ranking in standardized tests and average Intelligence Quotient (IQ) measurement.

Reports revealed that the average Filipino has an IQ of 81.64 — way below the average IQ of 100. As a result, the Philippines is ranked 111th out of 200 countries worldwide in terms of average IQ.

Verzosa also cited the results of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment, which showed that the country was lowest in Reading Comprehension, and second to the lowest in Science and Mathematics.

"Nakakaalarma ang mga balitang ito," Verzosa said, "at nagpapatunay na ang Pilipinas ay nasa gitna na ng krisis sa edukasyon. If the system is not working, let us improve the system."

[Translation: These reports are alarming, and prove the Philippines is in the middle of an education crisis.]

"Base sa mga ulat, may mga bansa na may mababang oras na nilalaan sa homework ngunit mataas ang kalidad ng edukasyon," he added.

[Translation: Based on reports, other countries allot less time for homework but their quality of education is much better.]

Verzosa also said: "Bakit hindi natin gayahin yung ginagawa ng mga progresibong bansa tulad ng Finland, China, Korea, and Japan kung saan tinanggal o binawasan nila yung mga homeworks at nagtagumpay sila sa kanilang quality of education...Lagi po nating sinasabi na edukasyon ang sagot sa kahirapan. Kung wala po tayong gagawing pagbabago, ay hindi po maiaangat ng ating mga kababayan ang estado ng kanilang mga buhay."

[Translation: Why don't we adopt the practice of progressive nations like Finland, China, Korea, and Japan where homeworks have been lessened or removed altogether yet they have a successful quality of education...We always say education will solve poverty. If we don't change our system we cannot uplift the lives of our countrymen.]

Asked about the best practices of other countries, Verzosa replied: "Simula sa paglimit muna ng assignments during weekdays. One hour per day lang and walang assignments during weekends. Mas pino-promote nila yung social skills, practical skills, time with friends, and other hobbies, sports, and time sa pamilya. Ginagawa nila na mas masaya at mas excited yung mga bata para pumasok ng school at ginagawa nilang mas holistic yung learning ng mga bata."

[Translation: Let's start with limiting assignments during weekdays to just one hour per day and no homework during weekends. They promote more the social and practical skills, time with friends, other hobbies, sports, and time with family. They make the students happier and more excited to go to school, and they make the learning experience holistic.]

Pressed on how the Department of Education should spend its budget to address the issues that he raised, Verzosa answered: "Base sa mga pag-aaral, kailangan nating i-increase yung learning capability ng mga estudyante sa loob ng eskuwelahan. Matuto tayo sa iba’t-ibang bansa, magamit yang pondo na yan para alamin kung ano ba yung ginagawa ng mga bansa na nagtagumpay na iangat ang kalidad ng edukasyon at i-apply yan."

[Translation: Based on studies, we should increase the learning capabilities of students. We should learn from other countries. We should use the funds to know what other countries are doing to improve their quality of education and apply them.]

Verzosa has filed a bill proposing the "No Homework Law," which aims to prohibit homework during weekends, and to limit homework during weekdays to just four (4) hours per week.

Photo from Bills and Service Index - House of Representatives

In concluding his speech, Verzosa urged fellow lawmakers to help prepare the youth for the future.

"I hope the House of Representatives — this House of the People — will take on the task of preparing our people for the future. Indeed, education is the greatest equalizer. In the end, all the money, fame, and power can be taken away, but education can never be stolen from you," the lawmaker stressed.

Legislators who expressed support for the measure include Rep. Stella Quimbo (2nd Dist., Marikina), Rep. Richard Gomez (4th Dist., Leyte), Rep. Raoul Manuel (Kabataan Partylist), and Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers Partylist). Supporters from UST Angelicum school teachers, Aral Pilipinas organization officers, Autism Society of the Philippines officers, Teacher's Dignity Coalition officers, and other education sector stakeholders also listened to the Privilege Speech pushing for the no homework policy.