MANILA, Nov. 15, 2011—The six million out-of-school youths (OSYs) should make the government think twice before cutting its expenditures on public education.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino said the Aquino government would be doing a grave “injustice” to the six million young people who cannot go to school if the government would go for the cut.
“The alarming number of out-of-school youths is a sad fact that the Aquino government does not seemingly want to address due to its continued refusal to allocate sufficient funds for education. The future of our youth and country is bleak given the low education priority of the Aquino government. Providing a substantial increase for the education budget is urgent and necessary,” the lawmaker said.
Citing the 2010 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) report, which was released early this month, 16% or 6.24 million of the total 39 million Filipinos, 6 to 24 years old are out-of-school youths (OSY).
“The high cost of education is a result of poor government funding and the profit-oriented education system,” he said.
Palatino added that the deplorable facilities and an education curriculum geared towards the demands of the foreign-dominated market push many youths to become disinterested and doubtful of the possible benefits that formal education may have for their future.
“The Aquino government should exercise conscientious leadership and properly address the education crisis. Doing so is far from being impossible, although agencies like the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) make it appear that properly addressing the needs of the youth and people is beyond the domain of reason and reality,” said Palatino.
The lawmaker proposes a P24 billion increase, on top of the P22.09 billion amended SUCs’ [state universities and colleges] budget, to address the urgent needs of public higher education for facilities, research, salaries and infrastructure. The increase, he added, can be achieved by rechanneling funds from debt-servicing, dole-out programs, private-public partnerships and military.
Meanwhile, Palatino said Kabataan Party-list together with youth groups, teachers, lawmakers, SUCs, and members of concerned sectors will hold a caravan-protest later today in the Senate as part of lobbying efforts to increase the budget of education and social services. The group has also set massive strikes next week to push for sufficient social services funding. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]