Press Release
January 28, 2010


Liberal Party President Senator Mar Roxas today that the first step towards improving education outcomes in the country is to set-up a clean and honest government that is committed to prioritizing public investments in education.

He vowed that the Liberal Party, led by its standard-bearer Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, will put an end to the short-sighted and bankrupt approach of the government in education and reform the education sector.

"Ang unang hakbang sa pagsasaayos sa sektor ng edukasyon ay pagluluklok ng isang tapat, tuwid at malinis na gobyerno (The first step in reforming the education sector is to establish a clean and honest government)," he said.

Roxas, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said the characteristics of a leader who can save the education system from collapse are:

  • A leader who can say "no" to any commission or bribe, and thus is capable of eradicating corruption that has been gobbling up all government investments in the education system.

  • A leader who has a comprehensive, long-term and step-by-step plan on how to reform the education system, "kontra sa tingi-tingi approach ng kasalukuyang gobyerno (versus the piecemeal approach of the incumbent government)."

  • A leader who is focused on reforming the education sector as a central strategy towards national development.

The Education Nation, a private sector and concerned citizens' coalition, launched a list of "10 doable things" to reform the education sector, as well as a quest for an "education president" in 2010.

Roxas stressed that government invests so little in basic education: only about 2% of GDP, which is less than half of the global norm. "At lahat ng ito, lumubog na lang sa buhangin dahil sa malawakang katiwalian at sa mga patakarang napaglipasan na ng panahon (This little investment is just put to waste because of large-scale corruption and backward policies)."

The senator emphasized that the Aquino-Roxas platform for 2010 seeks to uplift education from being "just one of many concerns, to making education the central strategy for investing in our people, reducing poverty and building national competitiveness."

"Education is a building blocks system. Kaya magsisimula tayo sa Grade 1 at ibuhos ang ating atensyon at resources hanggang sa maayos ito sa loob ng isang taon. Pagkatapos, Grade 2 naman. Hanggang sa maayos natin ang Elementarya sa loob ng anim na taon (We will start by putting all our attention and resources in improving outcomes in Grade 1 within one year. Then Grade 2, until we fix Elementary Education in a span of six years)," he stressed.

Roxas is advocating for Omnibus Education Reforms through Senate Bill No. 2294 which seeks reforms in the education system to meet world standards and to improve education outcomes within ten years, including:

1. Institutionalizing long-term planning through rolling five-year budget plans that are consistent with quantitative and qualitative targets;

2. Mandating the use of the mother tongue as medium of instruction for Grades 1 to 3 (studies have shown that early education in the local language tends to be more effective);

3. A genuine School-Feeding Program for Grade 1 and 2 students in the poorest provinces and municipalities that is free of corruption;

4. Imposition of performance standards through diagnostic tests at the end of Grades 3 and 6 to identify individuals who will require special learning assistance as they proceed to the next grade level;

5. Considering an increase in the years spent in basic education, from 10 to 12 as consistent with global standards (The two other countries who still have a 10-year basic education system are Morocco and Nigeria);

6. Instituting a two-track system in High School, with electives to equip them with the competencies needed as they decide to pursue College or to join the workforce right after graduation;

7. Intensive training and upgrading programs for teachers: a training program on teaching methods using the mother language for teachers in Grades 1 to 3; and upgrading courses for English, Science and Math teachers who are not majors in these subjects; and

8. A compulsory pre-school education year.

The bill seeks an additional P19 billion on top of the regular budget of the Department of Education for it to implement these reforms.

Earlier, the United Nations in its 2010 "Education For All" Global Monitoring Report, said that the Philippines is trailing Tanzania and Zambia in education outcomes, and is in "real danger" of missing its target of providing universal primary education by 2015.

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