The bicameral conference committee has approved the proposal to create the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II), which would pave the way for another set of reforms that will address the crisis hounding the country’s education sector.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said the reconciled version of the measures Senate Bill No. 2485 and House Bill No. 10308 seeks a comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the performance of the country’s education sector in order to recommend, transform and target reforms in the Philippine education system and make it globally at par in both education and labor markets.

It was Gatchalian who earlier raised concerns on how three international large-scale assessments—the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM), and the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)—all showed how Filipino learners are failing to master basic competencies and lagging behind their peers abroad.

“Bago pa tumama sa atin ang Covid-19, nahuhuli na ang ating mga kabataan pagdating sa kanilang pag-aaral at pinalala pa ito ng mga pinsalang dulot ng pandemya (Even before Covid-19 hit us, our students are already lagging behind in their studies and it worsened during this pandemic),” said Gatchalian, who is seeking another term in the Senate in the May 2022 elections.

“Napapanahon ang paglikha sa EDCOM II upang magsulong ng mga reporma at tugunan ang krisis na hinaharap ng ating sektor ng edukasyon (The creation of the EDCOM II is timely so we can pursue reforms and address the crisis that our education sector is facing),” said Gatchalian, co-author and sponsor of the measure.

Under the bill, the national assessment shall review the performance and mandates of the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) under the law.

The EDCOM’s assessment will also include recommendations on specific, targeted, and timebound solutions that would enable education agencies to improve their performance vis-à-vis measurable indicators.

The EDCOM will also ensure that these agencies are able to deliver accessible, inclusive and quality education that is at par with international standards.

Under the bill, the EDCOM shall be composed of 10 members, five from the Senate and five from the House of Representatives.

The Commission’s co-chairpersons will be the chairpersons of both the Senate Committees on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, and on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education and the Chairpersons of the House Committees on Basic Education and Culture, and on Higher and Technical Education.

State think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), on the other hand, shall serve as the research arm of the Commission.

Source: Manila Bulletin (