November 30, 2023

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a measure seeking to strengthen the country’s educational system through the creation of the National Education Council (Nedco) that will promote a culture of long-term, strategic and collaborative planning among the three education sub-sectors.

In a press statement, Gatchalian said Senate Bill 2017 or the National Education Council Act, shall create the Nedco to institutionalize a system of national coordination, planning, monitoring, evaluation and management among the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

In pushing for the measure, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education said the tri-focalization of the country’s education system in 1994 – CHED to handle higher education; Tesda to handle technical and vocational education; and DepEd to focus on basic education – was intended for the agencies to focus on their basic mandates to deliver and produce the outcomes expected of them.

“While tri-focalization led to greater focus and depth in sub-sectors’ planning and implementation of development programs, the Presidential Commission on Educational Reform (PCER) created in 1998 flagged how it resulted in possible overlaps, gaps, inconsistencies in and non-alignment of policies, plans, and programs,” Gatchalian said.

He said through the proposed Nedco, the country will strengthen the coordination among different government agencies to uplift the quality of education.

SB 2017 seeks the formulation of a national education agenda, which shall be anchored on national development plans.

It shall establish, among others, the country’s strategic vision for education, long-term and medium-term goals, strategies for a coordinated and coherent implementation, and recommendations on the corresponding investments and appropriations.

The Nedco’s powers and functions will include the implementation of an action agenda for the development of the country’s capacity for and success in education as measured by indices and measures such as the National Achievement Test, Program for International Student Assessment, Education Index, Education for All Development Index, and others it may deem appropriate in measuring growth and development of the education sector.

The three sub-sectors, concerned government agencies and concerned stakeholders shall strictly comply with the national education agenda, and shall incorporate its pertinent policies in their respective programs.

Under the proposed measure, the President of the Philippines will be the chairperson of Nedco while the DepEd Secretary, CHED chairperson, and Tesda director-general will serve as co-chairpersons.

Other members of the council will be the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and selected members of the Cabinet.

The bill further provides the national education agenda shall have a minimum five-year horizon, to be updated annually and reviewed periodically by the Nedco. – PNA