Press Release
May 25, 2010


At the canvassing of election returns today, Sen. Edgardo J. Angara urged the incoming administration to "take up seriously the declining quality of the country's education system."

Angara emphasized the need for upgrade in the country's education system by addressing the lack of competent teachers, the poor and low supply of school books, dilapidated buildings and facilities and the seemingly outdated modules that public schools implement especially in rural areas.

"We need the remedy of these issues to maximize the talents of Filipinos and to put them in a vantage point in the domestic and global labour market," said Angara, former President of the University of the Philippines and Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

Angara referred to some schools in rural communities wherein two teachers serve all levels in elementary--one for Grades 1-3 and the other for Grades 3-6. In response, he has called for a raise in the salary grade of teachers to SG13, which will increase the salary of teachers to Php21,293 - up by 77% from the current salary level--to foster competitiveness in the country's educational system.

"The persistent issue of the lack of books for public school children shows the declining quality of education, especially among government-run institutions. This needs to be addressed so we can give our children the education they need," noted Angara. He also urged the DepEd to carefully allocate books especially those for public schools, and maximize resources to fully equip school children with the necessary materials.

In 2008, the Commission on Audit reported a total of P6.7 million worth of books have been left unused in Central Visayas. The COA's annual audit report on DepEd's 2007 transactions also found that a total of 1,275,056 textbooks worth P57.3 million were left unused nationwide.

As a result, Angara lamented, the country currently has a basic literacy rate of only 88.5%, down from 93.5% in the 1990's.

"Education is a critical area that the new administration needs to focus on, among the nation's many problems."

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