Senators want proof cash transfer program is working | Inquirer News

Senators want proof cash transfer program is working

By: - Reporter / @KatyYam
/ 01:02 AM September 20, 2011

Has the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program for poor families effectively reduced the number of public school dropouts?

Senators posed the question as they sought concrete data from officials of the Department of Education, noting that dropout rate reduction was one of the justifications given for the continued implementation of the CCT since it was initiated in 2009 by the Arroyo administration.

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A total of P39 billion is being allotted for the program this year.

In a Senate hearing Monday, DepEd officials could not immediately produce data that would attribute dropout rate reduction to the CCT. Instead, Education Secretary Armin Luistro explained that apart from being ill, there may be other reasons why students frequently miss class and eventually fall off the roll.

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“Children may not come to class because the schools are far or there are no schools in their barangay,” Luistro said.

“Another reason is that there is no regular transportation in the area. When parents have to use public transportation to bring the children to school, let’s hope that the P300 per month (allotted by the CCT) for every child would help for the payment of transportation,” the secretary added.

“We would have to start tracking the actual effect of the CCT on students, we should have that by next year,” Luistro told the senators.

But Senator Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate finance committee, pointed out: “Children have no control over how P300 would be disbursed. And you could not blame the parent if she buys food instead of using the money for transportation.”

“A component of the CCT is given on the condition that the children attend 85 percent of the school days of a month.  Therefore, the government expects an improvement in school attendance and a reduction in the dropout rates from the present 24 per 100 students in areas where the CCT is applied,” Drilon said in an interview.

The senator said DepEd officials must take note whether the CCT had brought about an improvement in the “survival rate” of students since ‘’that’s what (the program) was designed for.”

Drilon said the results of the DepEd’s findings on the matter “would be a factor in future deliberations of the Senate finance committee, whether to continue to expand the CCT’s coverage.”

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According to Luistro, a total of 24.4 million students enrolled in the public and private schools this year, with the number expected to reach 25 million next year.

In public schools today, around 24 out of 100 students who enter Grade 1 drop out before reaching Grade 4, Luistro added.

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TAGS: CCT, conditional cash transfer, Education, Government, Poverty
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