KABACAN, Cotabato , Philippines — There is “education poverty” in underdeveloped areas of the country for which the government must allocate more funds, according to Sen. Edgardo Angara.
Angara, in the graduation rites of the University of Southern Mindanao here last April 10, said a recent study showed that “majority of the bottom scorers in educational attainment belong to the poorest 20 percent of the population.”
The former University of the Philippines (UP) president said many children suffering from education poverty are in Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and its surrounding islands.
“In ARMM and the Zamboanga Peninsula, over 10 percent of the population aged 17 to 22 has received less than four years of education,” he said. “In contrast, education poverty ranges from one to two percent of population in Manila.” This is the reason why he has been fighting for bigger budget for education, resulting in P185.48 billion allocated for education out of the total P1.54-trillion national budget this year.
He disclosed that “targeted spending” is now the working principle in the use of the education budget because “spending for spending sake is not the objective” and “fiscal resources are forever finite.”
Angara cited the funding for a public elementary and high school database project, which will gather information on school leadership, enrolment, participation, and retention rates over the past three years. This will provide a valuable planning tool to decision makers in finding proper solutions to the declining quality of education and will enable continuous monitoring of the academic performance of public schools.
“In short, it will make every peso spent in education count,” Angara, the chairman of the Foundation for Upgrading the Standard of Education (FUSE) said. He added there is also urgent need to focus on curriculum reforms to make the curriculum simplified, attuned to the times and concentrated on the basics like reading, proficiency, numerical literacy, communication arts, the natural world, and the wonders of technology. –(The Philippine Star)