AN INDEPENDENT commission with the power to review the deterioration of education standards during the pandemic has been proposed by Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), a private-sector organization advocating for workforce development.

PBEd said in a virtual briefing Thursday that the commission was among its recommendations, citing concerns about the uneven implementation of the education agenda during the public health crisis.

PBEd said the Education Commission (EdCom) should convene this year as “a multisectoral body with representation from the legislature, private sector, civil society, parents’ association, the youth, school teachers and school leaders, and it should be supported by a competent and objective secretariat.”

The EdCom will target long-term education issues such as “governance, teacher quality, technology, and competitiveness,” problems on which fronts have been exposed during the pandemic.

“With a learning crisis on our hands and the future of millions of Filipinos at stake, what we need now is a strong, multi-sectoral coalition that will push for education reforms and ensure that quality education becomes a top priority in the national development agenda,” PBEd Chairman Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr. said.

An “autonomous” agency that will keep track of educational progress needs to be separate from the education bureaucracy, PBEd said.

“It is important for us to establish an Autonomous Assessment Agency… in order to move forward, we need to know where we are,” PBEd President Meliton B. Salazar, Jr. said in a virtual briefing.

“We have discussed this with lawmakers… this is something we will be working on in the next few months and hopefully we can find someone who will sponsor this,” he added.

The government was asked to allot at least 20% of the national budget to education to improve connectivity and access to learning especially in public schools and those in remote areas. — Gillian M. Cortez