Improve quality of education in SUCs, gov’t urged
After the passage of a bill making tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) free, a teachers’ group urged the government on Wednesday to improve and expand higher educational institutions (HEIs) to make tertiary education more accessible.
Educators Forum for Development (EFD) said the law’s passage was a “major first step” in realizing that education is a right and ensuring that it should be a government’s priority.
“However, to genuinely ensure education for all and facilitate the schooling of millions of out-of-school youth, government is further challenged to improve the quality of education and increase the number and capacity of public higher education institutions,” EFD said in a statement.
The group cited the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2016 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey, which showed that almost 87 percent of the four million out-of-school youth are aged 16 to 24 years old.
It also urged the government to expand and strengthen the public university system by building more SUCs to prevent “unnecessary flow” of people’s money into private profits.
“Improving and expanding the public university system is the best defense against the privatization of education, which commodifies a basic right and marginalizes no- and low-income families,” EFD said.
“Strengthening the public university system means increasing teachers’ capacities, employing quality teachers’ materials, publications and teaching methods, and ensuring adequate budget for free tertiary education in SUCs,” it added.
The group noted that as of 2014, there are 2,374 private HEIs, outnumbering the 675 government HEIs, including satellite campuses, nationwide.
On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10931 or “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act” which grants full tuition subsidy in SUCs. IDL
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