Press Release
July 7, 2011

Cayetano: Poor country like the Philippines should invest more on education

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano once again urged the government to invest more on education especially for a poor country like the Philippines, stressing that education makes way for better opportunities for human development.

"Unfortunately with the way the administration - including the ones before it - handle the problems of the education sector, it's as if it's telling the people that while education is important, the people should endure and tolerate the deficiencies in the meantime," said Cayetano.

"Mayroon na ba tayong nakitang magulang na ang sinabi sa kanilang anak, 'anak, hintayin mong yumaman tayo, saka ka mag-aral'," asked the senator. ("Have you ever heard a parent tell her child, 'child, wait until we get rich, and then you go to school")

Cayetano said it should be the other way around. "Because we are a poor country, we should invest heavily on education," the senator said.

But the reality, according to Cayetano, is that for every 100 Filipino students going to grade 1, only 86 continue to the second grade. On the third grade, only 76 remain. This is trimmed down to 65 when they reach grade 6.

More sadly, said Cayetano, only 58 go to high school, and only 43 finishes. 23 enroll in college and only 14 finishes.

However, the senator expressed hope that after the first year of President Aquino's administration, more proactive approaches to the problems, with actual solutions, will be seen.

One main problem that can be addressed immediately that Cayetano mentioned is the shortage in classrooms in the public school system.

"Eleven billion pesos per year will solve the classroom shortage in three years," said Cayetano.

To simplify the math, according to the senator, "the country lacks 66,000 classrooms. Computed at 500,000 pesos per classroom, the government will need P33 billion to fill the shortage in classrooms."

"So why can't we appropriate 11 billion pesos in the next 3 years so in the fourth year of the Aquino administration, more or less, there will no longer be a classroom shortage" asked Cayetano.

Cayetano further explained that the government's appropriation of 5 - 7 billion per year for the construction of classrooms may seem to solve the problem, but doesn't. "It's only making up for the growth in the population... But [we end up with] the same problem," he added.

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