Senator Edgardo J. Angara underscored the need for research on the children of OFWs or migrant workers, citing parent-involvement as crucial in early child learning.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, noted studies from UNICEF that suggest children whose parents are involved in their early years of learning are likely to finish school.
“Family, especially the parents, plays a very big role in a child’s early education,” said the veteran lawmaker, who is author and main proponent of the Early Years Act (EYA).
During a recent public hearing on the EYA, Sec. Dinky Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that the country’s Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs should consider that for many of the 10 million or so families of overseas workers, either the mother, father or both parents are absent while their children are growing up.
Angara said, “I think this is really a very important point of inquiry and research. I think the important thing is to get to the heart of the family and coordinate with POEA [Philippine Overseas Employment Agency] and DepEd [Department of Education] to bring terms of reference together and conduct this specific research for EYA. ”
According to Section 7 of the proposed legislation, young children of OFWs can be considered “at risk” and therefore may need special care ranging from psycho-social to socio-emotional because of the absence of parent-care and parent-role models in the household.
“EYA can be maximized to fill the gaps for OFW children. The trained EYA teachers can educate the children, serve as role models and, to an extent, be surrogate parental figures while the real parents are not around,” stressed Angara.
The Early Years Act (now filed under Senate Bill 3176) was earlier passed by Congress but vetoed by President Benigno S. Aquino III. The measure aims to make early childhood education a national responsibility to equalize opportunities available to all Filipino children.