Monday, February 10, 2014

Drilon: Congress to prioritize bills widening reach of educational services

MANILA-Various bills that would provide support to financially-challenged students nationwide, and institutionalize open and distance education in high school and college are among the leading measures the Congress is committed to tackle and pass throughout the 16thCongress, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said today.

“The improvement of our education system remains as one of our most pertinent legislative agenda and these proposed measures are designed to widen the reach of delivery of educational services across major deterrents such as poverty and logistical difficulties,” Drilon said.

According to the Senate chief, the priority bills to be vigorously pursued by legislators are the institutionalization of distance learning system in secondary and tertiary levels, the establishment of an open high school system for out-of-school youth and the formation of a national student loan program available for underprivileged students nationwide.

Drilon noted the presence of several measures which seek to “institutionalize the availability of open and distance learning system for secondary and tertiary levels of public education.”    

Under open learning systems, students will acquire their education via the use of different forms of media and learning technologies following approved curriculum, while distance learning programs permit the accomplishment of education through approved self-instructional materials and independent study methods.    

“The presence of several bills filed in Congress confirm the potential of alternative learning programs in addressing socio-economic, geographical and physical barriers which so much plague our conventional classes,” Drilon said, as he confirmed that a consolidated, encompassing version of an alternative learning systems bill is “in the works.”

“We need to make our education in our country more available and closer to the youth by all possible means, if we want to increase enrollment levels in high school and college,” he added.

Drilon also pointed out that the Congress will deal with the implementation of student loan program across the entire country “to provide financial support for underprivileged students in paying for their tuition and subsistence allowance.”

He said there are a number of students who are close to finishing college, but would eventually drop out due to financial limitations, and “it is therefore for the government to establish a national financial support system –backed with sufficient funding– that students can avail of in times of need.”   

The Senate president then made clear of the senators’ attention to such bills: “At this point in our legislative schedule, we are best-suited to aid and improve the educational system with finding out how to maximize the government’s resources and assets in allowing critically-needed education to reach the most number of citizens.”

The Senate chief said he sees a more harmonious and cooperative relationship between the House of Representatives and the Senate in ensuring the prompt passage of measures critical to the fight against corruption and maintaining a robust economy.

“We are confident that the two chambers will be able to pass these relevant bills throughout the rest of the 16th Congress, and we would implement a coordinated and synchronized legislative strategy to maximize our legislative performance,” said Drilon, who had previously met with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. to firm up their legislative agenda.

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