Press Release
May 17, 2007


Amidst the ongoing election canvassing, reelectionist Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called on government and members of the education sector to begin focusing on the 14 million out-of-school youth in the country, and to address the crisis in education and Filipino competitiveness.

Look at the 14M Filipinos who are outside the formal educational system. They are as large as the number of pupils who are inside the school system. But whos taking care of them? Angara asked before teachers and other members of education sector at the First UNESCO Media Breakfast Forum held recently.

Angara, former U.P. President, noted that eight out of 10 Filipinos dont really go to college, which aggravates our functional illiteracy ratio every year.

Out of the 10 school age Filipinos, six will graduate from grade school. Four of the six will graduate high school. And out of the four, only two will go on to continue education either in university or college. We need to track the original eight. We cannot simply create institutions and craft curriculum without strongly taking these into account, Angara said.

Angara also urged the education top guns to work on improving the countrys dismal record in Science, Math and Engineering education.

An international study on math and science shows that Filipino students performed poorly compared with students from other countries. In examinations taken by high school students from 45 countries, our students ranked 41st in math and 42nd in science. We should be very concerned, he lamented

He also pointed out that the countrys competitiveness has slid down 29 places since 2001 because of the failure to upgrade and update the educational system.

The educational system could give the Philippines a competitive edge if it focuses on math, science, technology and engineering, he contended.

In the previous Congress, Angara, together with Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr., created the Competitiveness Commission to urgently review the science and technology, engineering research and development programs of both private and public sectors.

Angara also called for a consultative workshop or education summit to draw the legislative and executive agenda concerning Philippine education system in the next 5 years.

At present, Angara, together with Davao City Mayor Rodolfo Duterte, has offered his expertise and contacts to establish a state-funded technical institute in Davao.

Angara was the prime mover behind the three congressional commissions that studied and effected major reforms in Philippine education, the health sector and agriculture sector.

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