Press Release
May 22, 2009


Philippine education is facing a "dropout crisis" and the government is not doing enough to address the problem, opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero said yesterday.

"There is an alarming trend emerging which raises fears of a dropout crisis. Unless we do something about it, we could see the numbers rise in the coming years," Escudero said.

A report commissioned by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) showed that public elementary student enrollment dropped to 12.03 million between 2007 and 2008 from 12.08 million between 2006 and 2007.

But enrollment in private schools in the same period showed an increase, indicating that public education is being neglected.

"Public education, which should be the government's priority, is taking a hit. We are seeing government actually divesting in the country's future rather than investing in it because it neglects the welfare of public school students," Escudero said.

He said the Global Education Digest 2008 of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) showed that the Philippines had the lowest public expenditure per student as a percentage of GDP per capita among selected Asian countries including Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

In the same report, the Philippines also had the lowest total expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP.

The senator said the government should arrest this dropout trend by addressing the shortage of classrooms, teachers, and basic materials.

"The government should make sure that no student is forced to drop out for reasons that could otherwise be addressed by no-nonsense approach to education. The government needs to be reminded that education is the right of every Filipino," Escudero said.

"We don't need pa-pogi posturing that are long on photo-ops and short on real solutions. Unless you have solutions, you become part of the problem," he added.

The Department of Education estimates that the country will be need up to 39,000 new teachers, aside from 7,000 new classrooms and four million school seats to meet the projected enrollment this year.

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