Press Release
January 11, 2009

Invest more in education, Loren asks business leaders

Senator Loren Legarda asked today more Filipino businessmen to help improve the quality of education in the Philippines by infusing much-needed investments in the country's schools, colleges and universities.

Loren issued the call in the face of reports that the quality of education in the country continues to deteriorate, thereby putting in peril the global competitiveness of Filipinos.

About eight million Filipinos are either working or living abroad, remitting up to $16 billion to the Philippines each year. But this number may go down, according to Loren, if poor education would result to more Filipinos being deemed in the future to be unemployable.

"Many captains of Philippine industries are already investing in the education and the future of our children. I hope that many more will follow suit because we need sustained measures to improve our educational system," she said.

The October 27, 2008 issue of Forbes Asia magazine cited top businessmen who are investing in educational institutions, namely:

Taipans Henry Sy, with a newly acquired 60 percent stake in National University (NU); Lucio Tan, who has controlling shares in University of the East (UE) since 1990; and Don Emilio Yap, who has 49 percent ownership of Centro Escolar University (CEU).

Forbes also cited the Montinola family which has 40 percent ownership of Far Eastern University since 1928; and Alfonso Yuchengco of Mapua Institute of Technology.

UE has 40,500 students, FEU 25,000, CEU 20,000, Mapua 15,000 and NU 2,000.

The senator, who established the Libro ni Loren Foundation to help send to school the poorest among the poor and to provide educational assistance to schools, said other businessmen can also chip in by providing scholarships to more beneficiaries.

She said that with cuts on the budget of state educational institutions, more private support for the latter and their students are encouraged.

Loren noted a report that the Philippines spent only about $138 per pupil in 2005 compared to $1,582 per student in Singapore, $3,728 in Japan and $852 in Thailand.

In the 2007 THES-QS rankings, only the University of the Philippines and Ateneo remained in its top 500 list. In 2008, La Salle, University of Santo Tomas joined Ateneo and UP in the list of top 500 colleges worldwide.

Another organization that ranks colleges, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic Ranking of World Universities does not have Philippine universities in the top 500.

The 2009 budgets of 21 state colleges and universities in the provinces had been cut by P323 million, although the UP's budget increased by P362 million to P6.8 billion.

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