PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said adding two more years to the basic education program would strengthen the country’s global competence by making Filipino students at par with those from developed countries like Japan and Korea.

“‘Yung [mga] estudyante natin sa dinatnan nating sistema, 10 years lang mag-aaral; pipilit mo doon sa 12 years na katapat, tapos mayroon pang plus-plus dahil doon sa lahat ng tutorial niya,” Aquino said at the Fourth National Congress of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Association, Inc. (Cocopea) at the Quadricentennial Pavilion last Feb 28.

The President also said the newly enacted Republic Act No. 10157 or the “Kindergarten Education Act” will help pupils prepare for the new system.

“Hinahabol po nating bigyan ng oportunidad ulit ang ating mga kabataan kung saan mabigyan mo naman ng pagkakataong matuto,” he said before some 600 school administrators, government officials, and stakeholders from about 200 educational institutions.

The statute provides “accessible mandatory and compulsory” kindergarten education for five-year-olds beginning next academic year, he said.

The government has set a P2.39-billion budget—a 2.14-percent increase from last year’s P2.34 billion—to support the law’s implementation, a press release by the Department of Budget and Management dated March 1 said. This was included in the P238.8-billion budget allocated for basic education in the 2012 General Appropriations Act.

Aquino meanwhile boasted of the government’s “accomplishment” in addressing classroom shortage, which amounted to 66, 800 classrooms nationwide.

“In 2011, we built—nakikisama na po ako doon sa ‘we’—at least 15,000 [classrooms]," Aquino said, citing a report from Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro. “Roughly about a fourth of the problem has been eliminated for the program for 2012,”Aquino said. “It’s a further 35,000 to include the private-public partnership program, which will bring the total of 50,000, leaving a net of 16,800.”

The cell of stoical conscience

The Commission on Higher Education (Ched), meanwhile, closed 31 non-compliant programs for not achieving at least 30-percent passing rate in board exams, Aquino said.

“Whenever there is a course that is deemed very ‘hot,’ there are so many universities that want to have the most number of enrollees. They have looked up on [it] as a business, they start forming [faculties] and colleges almost instantly,” he said. “[T]he institutions that had that expertise to develop really good graduates suddenly have difficulty producing the same level of quality because they’ve lost some of their faculty…there is degradation in the level of the quality of the students and graduates that they produce.”

Luistro, Ched Director Patricia Licuanan, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Emmanual Joel Villanueva also discussed issues hounding basic education, higher education institutions, and technical-vocational schools, in the two-day conference. Rafael L. Antonio


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.