Thursday, April 24, 2014
AIM FOR ONE COLLEGE GRADUATE PER FILIPINO FAMILY, ANGARA URGES GOV'T
MANILA-Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara on Friday called on the Aquino government to aim for an education agenda that targets at least one college graduate per family, including those living in poverty.
"State programs for education should transcend the tragedy of timid expectations. Since the problem on classroom shortage has been addressed decisively, we have reasons to believe that the present administration can do something to make sure that there is a college graduate for every Filipino family," the neophyte senator pointed out.
One suggestion of Angara is to reformat the P62 billion-a-year conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
"Maybe the DSWD can initiate a 'one college scholar per family' to those who are enrolled in the CCT program," he said.
Education and healthcare are the primary mandates of the CCT and raising the bar of the programs to include one college scholarship per family, Angara said, would not even alter the basic agenda of the CCT program.
He has filed one such bill, Senate Bill No. 58 or the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Higher and Technical Education (UNIFAST), and he hopes that President Aquino can persuade Congress to fast-track its approval before he steps down from Malacanang two years from now.
The lawmaker lamented recent studies which showed that out of 100 kids that start elementary education, only around less than 20 are able to graduate from college, and the usual reasons of the majority who did not finish were poverty and lack of opportunities.
Angara, author of the Free Kindergarten Law, said that education investment should be spent at all levels, and reforms should cover elementary, high school and college education.
He has also filed a bill that seeks to remove the prohibitive cost of entrance exam fees in all colleges and universities throughout the country.
The former congressman from Aurora, who used to chair the House committee on higher and technical education, has vowed to push for policies and measures that aim to provide opportunities and empower people, primarily through access to quality education and employment generation.
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