DepEd Studies Phase-Out of Citizen's Army Training; Educators Congress Starts at Manila Hotel.(Main News)

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Byline: JOEL C. ATENCIO

The Department of Education (DepEd) will study the phase-out of the Citizens Army Training (CAT)-1 from the curriculum of the private and public secondary schools nationwide to improve the learning competencies of students, Education Secretary Edilberto de Jesus said yesterday at the start of the 2002 National Educators Congress (NEC) at the Manila Hotel.

De Jesus issued the statement in the wake of reports that the holding of CAT-1 allegedly hampers the study habits and other academic activities of high school students. This paramilitary training is held Saturdays or Sundays or even weekdays.

"When I was still the president of the Far Eastern University (FEU), I led the phaseout of the Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) in six years from the tertiary level and it became the Citizen's Welfare Service (CWS)," De Jesus said in his first formal press conference.

The secretary also said that the continued implementation of the Revised Basic Curriculum (RBEC) in all public schools is assured by the leadership of DepEd.

He said it is logical to implement the new curriculum that is being pilot-tested this school year to establish the foundation of basic education first and to address the heavy drop-out rate.

The DepEd chief said that drop-out rate of students is notable in the fourth grade.

De Jesus said BEC is necessary to strengthen the basic education in the elementary and the secondary levels to ready them for the tertiary level, he said. "In the Asian region, only the Philippines and Burma have 10 years of basic education," he added.

"We are lagging behind other countries who have up to 13 years of basic education," De Jesus said as he added that freshmen students in the tertiary level are not well prepared to enter college because they lack the needed skills.

He explained that he has received suggestions from educators to have an examination like that of the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), which was implemented before but was replaced by the National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT).

De Jesus said that NCEE-like examinations would gauge the skills of the students and would determine if a student is prepared for the tertiary level. …