Press Release
March 13, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party, expresses concern over the fate of the estimated 2.9 million graduating students this year, especially from the elementary and secondary schools, many of whom may not be able to continue their education due to lack of financial resources.

According to the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), expected to graduate this month and next month are 1,585,273 elementary students; 879,227 high school students; and 447,847 college students.

Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, says, "Every year, the DepEd itself admits that the number of out-of-school-youths and dropouts are increasing. So I am concerned that many of the graduates this year may not continue their schooling due to financial constraints. We should help them, especially poor but deserving students to pursue higher education."

Based on a previous presentation of DepEd to Villar's committee, it was reported that for every 100 children entering Grade 1, only 68 will reach Grade 6. Out of this, only around 66 of them would be able to graduate and finish elementary schooling.

Furthermore, out of the 58 who enter high school, only 43 would be able to finish secondary education. Of the 43 students who completed high school, only 23 go to college and only 14 will graduate with a university degree.

Villar filed two specific bills, Senate Bill (SB) Nos. 525 and 526 that aim to help students to continue their education. SB 525 seeks to establish a student financial assistance program for students of economically disadvantaged families. SB 526 requires all colleges and universities to provide college scholarship grant to at least 10% of their student population who are poor but deserving.

"There are already many existing scholarship programs and study grants, but most of them offer limited slots only. We need to expand their coverage. And there is still no extensive government program that takes care of the mass of secondary level graduates who want to pursue higher education but fail to do so due to poverty or financial difficulties," Villar cites on his bill.

"An educated populace is a big factor in the growth and development of a nation. We should find ways and means to ensure the continuity of the education of Filipino students and to bring out-of-school youths back to school and to be educated whether formally or informally," adds Villar.

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