A SENATOR on Sunday urged the government to implement a nationwide remedial program for students, after the Education department announced the suspension of in-person classes in areas under Alert Level 3. 

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said Senate Bill No. 2355 or the proposed Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program Act would implement “systematized” tutorial sessions for learners who are struggling to achieve the minimum level of mastery required in Language, Mathematics, and Science. 

The proposed program aims to “cover the most essential learning competencies on Language and Mathematics for Grades 1 to 10 and Science for Grades 3 to 10,” Mr. Gatchalian said in a statement. 

He said the program seeks to improve learners’ critical and analytical thinking skills, adding that it will also target learners who did not enroll for school year 2020-2021.

Mr. Gatchalian, citing the National Economic and Development Authority, said the “yearlong lack of face-to-face classes will cost the Philippine economy P11 trillion in productivity losses over the next 40 years.” 

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez has said the government must find a way to regain the school days lost due to the pandemic, noting that the lack of face-to-face classes might affect the youth’s learning capacity. 

The pilot implementation of limited in-person classes started in Nov. 2021, with 28 Metro Manila schools joining the pilot run last December.

The Department of Education has already deferred the expansion of limited face-to-face classes following the imposition of Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila and various provinces due to a surge in coronavirus cases. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza