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A proposed Senate inquiry wants to look into the state of education in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and address low enrollment, improve learner outcomes and improve access to quality basic education.

Decades of armed conflict and civil unrest have greatly affected the quality of basic education, based on the performance of BARMM in several education indicators, according to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.

In a news release on Monday, Gatchalian said he filed Proposed Senate Resolution No. 455 to review the status of the implementation of the education provisions of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Republic Act 11054) and the Bangsamoro Education Code (BEC) of 2021.

Gatchalian cited that historical Net Enrollment Rate (NER) has been a persistent problem in BARMM, with the problem being more pronounced in junior high school (JHS) and senior high school (SHS).

While the national NER is 97 percent, only about 36 percent of individuals aged 12 to 15 are enrolled in JHS, and 10 percent of individuals aged 16 to 17 are enrolled in SHS.

According to the 2020 Philippine Statistics Authority’s Annual Poverty Indicators Survey, among the top reasons for non-attendance in schools are the high cost of education (21 percent), accessibility of schools (17 percent), and lack of personal interest (16 percent).

Gatchalian also pointed to the latest Cohort Survival data for BARMM, where for every 100 children who enrolled in Grade 1 in School Year (SY) 2010-2011, only 17 were able to graduate Grade 12 in 2021-2022.

It was substantially lower than the national average of 57 Grade 12 graduates in SY 2021-2022 out of every 100 Grade 1 enrollees in SY 2010-2011.

He said he is further alarmed by the results of the last seven National Achievement Tests (NAT) administered in the region, which revealed low performance in English, Science and Mathematics.

NAT results showed that Grade 6 learners exhibit near proficiency in English (52.4 percent) and Mathematics (52 percent), and low proficiency in Science (46 percent).

“Mahalagang masuri natin ang mga hamong kinakaharap ng ating mga kababayan sa BARMM pagdating sa edukasyon. Nais nating tiyakin na pagdating sa dekalidad na edukasyon at mga oportunidad sa magandang kinabukasan, hindi maiiwan ang ating mga kababayan sa rehiyon (We must scrutinize the challenges in education of our countrymen in the BARMM. We must ensure the quality of education and that they are not left behind),” said Gatchalian. (PNA)