Gatchalian seeks support for parents in ‘new normal education’

As the country’s basic education system transitions to the new normal, Senator Win Gatchalian eyes increased support to parents and guardians as they take on increased roles in the continuity of learning amid the threat of COVID-19.

In Senate Bill No. 1565 or the Education in the New Normal Act, which Gatchalian filed, schools are mandated to leverage Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) in developing a system of constant open communication involving parents, guardians, and other family members in the learners’ daily activities.

PTAs will also be venues of consultations, clarification, and orientation on the role of families in learners’ education.

The proposed measure enumerates different roles that parents and guardians will perform with the help of teachers.

These include the creation of an effective and consistent structure or system of learning at home.

Parents are expected to implement reasonable rules on the safe and healthy use of platforms and devices for learning such as television, radio, tablets, cellphones, computers, and other information and communications (ICT) equipment.

Parents and guardians will also promote habits of reading books and other printed materials to offset the amount of online learning and ensure a digital recess.

Another task that parents and guardians will share with teachers is to follow up on learners’ academic performance and progress.

Gatchalian reiterated that if parents are not supported in their new and expanded roles, they could experience more stress, which in turn could affect learning outcomes.

He also pointed out the benefits of increased parental involvement in learners’ education.

The lawmaker recalled the Senate hearing on the results of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), where PISA Coordinator Andreas Schleicher shared that parental interest and involvement has stronger links to educational outcomes than family income.

In Estonia and Finland, which are both included in the top ten countries that scored highest in Reading Comprehension, Schleicher shared that teachers actively work with parents to help support their children and analyze learning outcomes.

Gatchalian also shared the example of Baguio City National High School, the Philippines’ highest scorer in Reading Literacy in PISA 2018, where parents participate in classroom reading activities and facilitate reading tasks at home.

“Ang mga magulang at guardian ng ating mag-aaral ay katuwang ng ating mga guro sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan, lalo na sa kalagitnaan ng kasalukuyang pandemya. Ngayong ‘new normal’ na edukasyon, kailangang lubos na maunawaan at mapaghandaan ng mga magulang ang kanilang pinalawak na papel upang lubos nilang magabayan ang kanilang mga anak,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

The Education in the New Normal Act (SB 1565) bats for a Safe School Reopening Plan, which guides the reopening of all public and private basic education institutions in the event of emergencies that disrupt classes.