Negros Occidental Third District Representative Francisco "Kiko" Benitez with members of the Second Congressional Commission on Education (Edcom II) conducted a series of site visits and consultations with public and private schools in the province on August 26.
The initiative aims to address concerns and gather suggestions from education stakeholders to improve the country’s education policies.
The visits included demonstrations at E.B. Magalona Elementary School, where students showcased improved literacy and reading comprehension through the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) ABC+ Language Identification and Comprehensive Rapid Literacy Assessment Tools.
Among those discussed were solutions to remediate learners who cannot read at grade level during the school year.
Simultaneous focus group discussions (FGDs) and Early Numeracy Initiative (ENI) demonstrations were held at South Silay Elementary School to gather insights from teachers and observe how students are learning mathematics. These discussions are crucial so that “we can create solutions that not only look good on paper but will also work in real life,” said Congressman Roman Romulo, who also joined the visit.
Consultations with various public schools were also conducted. Among the topics discussed were improving performance and quality assurance, subsidies and vouchers, the issues of spiraling pedagogy, and a bill filed to make it non-mandatory. Additionally, the alignment of TechVoc and industry, and micro-credentialing for students to complement the Philippine Qualifications Framework were discussed.
Benitez underscored his strong commitment to productive dialogue during the afternoon session with private schools. “Any discussions brought up today will certainly contribute to our deliberations in Congress,” Benitez said.
He further expressed openness to necessary reforms, “We are willing to listen and see what kind of reforms are best,” indicating a proactive approach to enhancing educational systems, he added.
With a broader perspective, he added, “We all are stakeholders, and what we do shapes the future of each and every one of us in a very real and material sense.”
Participating private schools were University of St. La Salle (host), La Consolacion College Bacolod, Bacolod Tay Tung High School, Pax Catholic Academy Diocese of Bacolod, Our Lady of the Pillar Academy, Magdeleine Academy-Hinigaran Inc., University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, St. Scholastica's Academy-Bacolod, Collegio de San Agustin, St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic School, and Carmel College Escalante. (PR)