Press Release
May 7, 2007

Recto bats for No Child Left Behind program .5 M kids not in preschools

The inconvenient truth about pre-schools, Sen. Ralph Recto said, is that half a million five-year olds who are supposed to get early child education under the law are left out in the cold.

But to its credit, government has been bringing into kindergartens and day care centers more and more Filipino children, with a P1.250 billion allocation this year expected to hike enrollment in pre-Grade One classes.

By latest government count, eight out of 10 five-year olds are getting some form of tutoring, mentoring and nurturing by public and private early child education providers, Recto said.

However, of the 1.688 million five-year olds in day cares and preschools in 2003, only 42,000 or a measly two percent of five-year olds in the country at that time were in DepEd-run pre-schools, which underscores the urgency for serious catching up and financing in this field , Recto said.

Of the estimated 2.2 million five-year olds in 2003, only 1.688 million, or 77 percent, were served by formal preschools (806,000), or by day care centers (882,000), leaving 512,000 kids outside of the classroom looking in, Recto said.

The government itself conceded in its current medium-term development plan that children of poor households are those not covered by existing early child care or development programs, Recto said.

To address this, Congress, in the recently-signed P1.126 trillion national budget for 2007 has allotted P500 million for 1,600 pre-kindergarten classes in 4th to 6th class municipalities, Recto said.

A feeding program that costs P750 million will also be incorporated in the endeavor, he added.

In addition, some of the 7,326 classrooms that will built this year out of a P5.37 billion allocation made by Congress will also be used to house DepEd-run preschools, Recto added .

Recto conceded that these initiatives are not enough, considering that government has a self-imposed deadline of achieving 100 percent universal preeducation by 2010.

We should invest more in preschools to give our young a head start in life. Preschools would also correct our short basic education system of 10 years, he said.

Among formal preschools, those operated by LGUs or by the communities themselves accounted for 409,000 enrollees, or 19 percent of the total, while private preschools had 331,000 enrollees, or 15 percent of the total.

On the other hand, almost all of the day care centers are run by LGUs like barangay councils, municipal governments or the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Formal preschools follow a prescribed curricula while activities in day care centers range from child minding to formal classes.

Republic Act 8980, or the Early Child Care and Development Act makes it a state responsibility to provide preschool education.

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