Press Release
January 23, 2010


"It's not yet too late".

Alarmed by the recent report of the United Nations (UN) that the Philippines was in "real danger" of missing its target of providing universal primary education by 2015, Senator Edgardo J. Angara said we can still do something to boost our education performance.

The 2010 Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report, which was launched by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at UN headquarters in New York cited the Philippines as a "particularly striking example of under-performance" in educational reforms as its current polices were failing to make a difference in improving the education of the poorest Filipinos.

To remedy the situation, Angara proposed a number of educational reforms which includes investing on early childhood education, making the vernacular and Filipino the medium of instruction for basic education and enriching technical/vocational (tech-voc) education for young people whose aptitudes incline toward this direction.

"Behavioral science tells us there is no single most important period in a person's life than childhood. That is where we learn our most vital lessons," Angara pointed out.

Study shows that children who attended pre-school score 27% higher on a standard math test compared to students that didn't attend pre-school. Preschool boosts a child's cognitive and language and social development.

"This is an investment the country must make, in consonance with the studies made on and with the benefits of early childhood education in mind. To meet the challenges in both the domestic and global labor market and to respond to the needs and opportunities of globalization, it is imperative that we ready our children with the right coping skills and learning abilities as early," the former UP President said.

He also stressed the need to focus on tech-voc education, "Through alternative schooling, we can educate those who are not in the formal system of education, adding that there are about 5.6 million children who are out of school, creating a major crisis in the country's educational system".

Last week, Angara keynoted the 2nd International Conference on Filipino as a Global Language in San Diego, California. He underscored the importance of Filipino language as a medium of instruction for basic education.

"The lessons and findings of local and international studies in basic education have validated the superiority of the use of the learner's mother tongue or first language in improving learning."

He added, "Scientific research has proven that children learn to read more quickly in their first language. Pupils who have learned to read and write in their first language acquire a second language and third language more quickly. In terms of cognitive development and its effects in other academic areas, pupils taught to read and write in their first language acquire such competencies more quickly".

He also commended the Department of Education for issuing a language-in-education policy which institutionalizes the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MLE). It is the effective use of more than two languages for literacy and instruction. It is officially recognized as a fundamental education policy and program in the whole stretch of formal education including pre-school and in the Alternative Learning System (ALS).

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