Press Release
January 8, 2015

Villar hails signing into Law of Pro-Poor, Pro-Education Bills

Villar is the principal author and co-sponsor of Senate Bill Nos. 2272 (R.A. 10647) and 2274 (R.A. 10650)

Nacionalista Party Senator Cynthia Villar, the principal author and co-sponsor of the 'Open Learning and Distance Education Act of 2014' (Senate Bill 2274), welcomes the signing into law of the bill that will greatly benefit poor and working students as it will offer a flexible system of schooling. President Noynoy Aquino signed Republic Act (R.A.) 10650 or the 'Open Distance Learning Act' last week (December 9) and the 'Ladderized Education Act of 2014' (Senate Bill 2272) last month.

"The modern delivery of education to students could make higher education more accessible to a great number of Filipinos, especially the poor who usually has to juggle working and going to school. Poor families with their limited resources could not afford the everyday expenses involved in sending their children to college the traditional way," said Villar, who has been a long-time proponent of advanced systems of education.

As Las Piñas Representative, Villar was chairperson of the House Committee on Higher & Technical Education from 2004 to 2010. She authored and led the passage of 28 bills on higher or technical education to improve the quality and accessibility of education nationwide such as the ladderized approach, distance-learning and open-university system.

"Open learning and distance education will decrease the number of dropouts and out-of-school youths, who are mostly from the poor sectors of our society. Education is the key towards beating poverty," she said.

According to a study by University of Philippines (UP) School of Economics, for every 100 children who enter Grade 1, only forty-five (45) finish secondary education or high school, and only thirteen (13) eventually finish a college or tertiary education.

Unlike traditional education in which one goes to school regularly to meet teachers and classmates, a student availing himself or herself of distance learning can attend classes while at home or in the workplace with the use of modules, e-mail, chat and video conference to name a few.

Like the traditional learning experience, distance education follows a curriculum, but studying can be done at one's pace. To ensure efficiency and quality, mechanisms are employed to monitor and ensure the academic progress of the students. "As long as the necessary support for the efficient implementation of the system as enunciated in the bill are followed, open learning and distance education could well serve as effective engines to develop our people and nation," Villar added.

Villar is also the principal author and co-sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2272 that has also been signed into law, Republic Act 10647. The said bill aims to strengthen the ladderized interface between technical-vocational education and higher education. Ladderized education allows students to progress between technical-vocational education and training (TVET) and college, and vice-versa. At the same time, it opens opportunities for career and educational advancement for working and non-working students. It seeks to provide alternative methods and systems of education for working students and out of school youths.

Under the ladderized system of education, a student who has completed at least two years of technical-vocation training will receive a certificate that will provide him or her with the option to gain employment right away. A student may also opt to proceed to further his or her studies.

"Besides decreasing the number of out-of-school youths and under-graduates, it will also address the issue of unemployment, which is still a major problem in our country," said Villar.

Villar-authored Senate Bill Nos. 2272 (R.A. 10647) and 2274 (R.A. 10650) are two of the three pro-education legislations recently passed by the Senate and enacted into law, which will expand the delivery of educational services offered by the state. The other one was Senate Bill No. 2275, or the 'Iskolar ng Bayan Act' (Republic Act 10648).

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