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Learning camp not capturing students who need it most – Gatchalian


Senate Committee on Basic Education Chairperson and EDCOM 2 Co-Chairperson Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday raised the issue of the DepEd’s learning camp project not capturing those students who need it the most. 

“I have had the opportunity to look at the National Learning Camp…My initial reaction is that it seems to me that the students who need that intervention were not properly captured by that learning camp”, Gatchalian told the Department of Education during the hearing on the department’s proposed 2024 budget. 

DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Teaching Gina Gonong answered, “You’re correct, your honor. There was an issue about learners who need more help who are not getting the opportunities that we provided through the learning camp. But the learning camp is just one piece of the puzzle in learning recovery.”

“In regular school days, we are implementing reading programs, math programs, and science and technology programs. And we are allotting dedicated time for these programs. So that means we really can capture those students who need most help, because those programs will be mandatory for them.”, she explained.

During the EDCOM 2 hearing on the learning camp last August 24, 2023, EDCOM 2 Executive Director Dr. Karol Mark Yee also touched upon the implementation of the National Learning Camp during that meeting, pointing out that, when the Commission visited Taguig National High School, it was revealed that the students with that needed remediation – those who were most needed to be in the camps – were not there. The majority of students who opted to join the camps were those in consolidation and enrichment camps (with grades above 75), and not intervention camps. 

For the 2024 budget, the DepEd shared that they have allocated 4 Billion for the learning recovery programs of the Department.

Is P4B enough to capture those who need interventions?

“Will the 4 billion be enough to capture those who need interventions?”, Gatchalian asked the Department. 

Usec. Gonong answered in the affirmative. She explained how the Department is also looking at other models of learning recovery. “For example, when we do regular school day intervention programs, and the time is allotted already in the regular classes, we don’t need to spend more funds for those”, she said. 

“In this learning recovery track, as much as we can, we’ll try to allocate some amount to reach out to those students. Just submit to the committee, how many students are we trying to give interventions to, and how much is the equivalent value for those”, Gatchalian said. 

Last March, the Senate approved on third reading the ARAL Program Act (Senate Bill No. 1604), which  Gatchalian filed. The proposed measure, one of the priority bills of the EDCOM II, seeks to give learners access to well-systematized tutorial sessions and well-designed intervention plans that will address pandemic-related learning loss. The target beneficiaries of the proposed ARAL Program include  learners who are  below the minimum proficiency levels required in Language, Mathematics, and Science.

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