Spend more, not less, on youth education: BBM to solons

EDUCATION is the key to producing world-class professionals and technical workers required by an emerging economy coping with the crippling effects of the Covid-2019 pandemic, according to Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

That being the case, ensuring economic recovery amid the onslaught of the pandemic requires Congress to invest more in youth education by restoring the budget cuts in next year’s allocation for education, the former senator said on Sunday.

“We need experts; we need responsive, innovative, and globally competitive citizens for the country to recover from the pandemic. And citizens can become experts by getting a college degree,” he pointed out.

Marcos said tertiary education equips the youth for the challenges of adult life as it trains them to think critically, participate in constructive conversations, communicate effectively, and exercise problem-solving. He added education could also be a tool for the poor to rise from poverty.

“Without sufficient budget, how can the learning institutions like universities and colleges provide a good education? How can CHED, the very agency that administers and regulates them, carry out its mandate properly? Students will be at the losing end. How can poor but deserving students get college scholarships?” he stressed.

The Department of Budget and Management earlier  slashed the proposed budget of state universities and colleges (SUCs) by almost P15 billion while the P62.3-billion budget submitted by CHED was reduced to only P52.6 billion on the recommendation of the DBM, or a reduction of P9.6 billion.

The presidential aspirant also called on Congress to approve the P37-billion additional budget sought by the Department of Education for laptops and Internet service allowance to assist teachers as the country implements distance learning for the second year.

DepEd is proposed to receive P629.8 billion next year, an increase of 6.01 percent from this year’s P594.11 billion. However, while P11.31 billion is allotted for the agency’s computerization program—a 99.83-percent increase from this year’s P5.66-billion—funds are still insufficient to cover all teachers nationwide.

“While we have not yet returned to face-to-face classes, the teachers’ needs must be provided for so they can teach well under the blended learning system and the quality of education won’t be compromised,” Marcos said.

Both education and development experts have called for more engineers, urban planners, and agriculturists to address the thinning corps of professional and technical experts in these critical fields.

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