Tag Archive: Education

By Renato G. Mabunga, Ph.D.


The 2011 Education Budget

Appropriate budget to fuel the implementation of Education agenda plan is crucial.  For this year’s appropriation, the DepEd is given P207 billion pesos.  This is 19% higher than the 2010’s 175 billion amount.  P12.4 billion of the budget pie is for the construction of school buildings; P1.8B needed to purchase 32.3 million textbooks;  P1.6B for hiring additional 10,000 teachers; P8.6b for scholarship, training grants and student loan programs under TESDA, CHED, DOST, and DepEd; P21million for Every Child a Reader Program (ECARP); P727.5M for science and mathematics equipments.[1]  Major intent of the allocation is to propel implementation of Aquino’s 10 Point Education reform which includes the universal kindergarten to achieve the “Education for All” commitment of the government by 2015.  The stress on kindergarten program for 5-year old toddlers in 2011 marks the groundwork for the K-12 project of DepEd.

Going deeper into the budget allocation vis-à-vis deficit in our education system, the current budget is still found wanting.  It hides under the pronouncements of ‘austerity measure’ and maximization of ‘meager resources’ to cover-up automatic appropriation amount for debt servicing.  More than thirty-seven percent (37.50%) of the total 2011 budget is allotted to pay the current P4.712trillion debt of the country (combined domestic and foreign).[2]  The budget for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) was cut by P367.2 million in 2011; DepEd school-building program was halved in 2011; it boast  of building 13,147 new classrooms for 2011 — yet the backlog of public school classrooms is some 113,000.[3]

Critiques suggest that Congress revisits the General Appropriation Act (GAA), scrap the automatic allotment for dept payment and channel the money for social services, instead.

Under the banner of ‘austerity measures’ the government embarks, through its Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016, Public-Private Partnership (PPP), in both infrastructure and social services, and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) as major strategies to achieve inclusive growth.  While PPP in infrastructure and social services aimed at generating “high and sustained economic growth” and “equal access to development opportunities” respectively, CCT through its ‘Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’ (4Ps) is thought as a “responsive and effective social safety nets”.  Accordingly, the expected growth is translated into reducing poverty and increasing employment.

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By: Dr. Renato G. Mabunga

On Accessibility and Affordability:

(Photo by Unicef.org)

Various studies on the current student dropout rates show that of the 10 pupils entering grade 1, 66% would eventually finish grade six; 43% would graduate high school; and, only 20% would successfully finished college.  Of the statistics, there is a stark 80% of the 55 million considered out of school youth or 57% unable to fully access the right to education in the Philippine today.   One major reason for this is poverty.

The latest report released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) pegged the Philippine poverty incidence at 20.9% in 2009.[i]  In such situation, a Filipino needs Php974 monthly to meet his/her food needs and Php1,403 to stay out of poverty; a family of six has a daily and monthly requirement of Php277 and 8,421, respectively.  For the National Capital Region (NCR) however, a family of 6 needs to earn Php9,901 monthly or Php326 daily to live above the poverty threshold.  This means that the government demands each Filipino to live with Php41.25 a day.  This computation is based on the Refined Official Estimation Methodology series of 2006 as demanded by the Executive Order 352.  This methodology defines poverty threshold, as the cost of minimum basic needs, food and non-food; and, the ‘poor’ is as those whose income fall below the official poverty threshold defined by the government.  In April 2011, the Social Weather Station (SWS) survey revealed, “some 20.5 percent of Filipinos or about 4.1 million families are going hungry while more Filipinos are considering themselves poor”[ii].  A family of six in the NCR with a monthly  minimum wage of Php11,076 (Php404 minimum wage + Php22 ECOLA as approved in May 2011 x 26 working days) will spend almost 64% for food alone and the remaining 36% will be subdivided among healthcare, rentals (including housing), water, electricity, clothing and education among others.  It was estimated that in the first quarter of 2011, 51% of the population considered themselves poor.  Though basic education is provided free, essential needs such as food, shelter, clothing plus transportation and other incremental expenses in schools made it unaffordable for many.

Another issue on the accessibility of right is the number and location of schools.  The Department of Education reported to have almost covered all municipalities and barangays in the whole archipelago with 55,260[iii] elementary and secondary schools both public and private.  The disparity in number between the two is highlighted with the gap of 34,462 schools from 44,846 elementary schools to 10,384 high schools both private and public for the school year 2009-2010.  This is despite the officially reported teacher-pupil/student/room ratio of 1 to 36 and 1 to 38 respectively, which according to the Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) is actually 1 to 45 and 1 to 60 ratio for school year 2010-11.  No wonder that in Metro Manila alone, three shifting of classes are done in a day to rationalize the lack of schools/classrooms, teaching personnel, and accommodate large number of pupils and students.

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By Renato G. Mabunga, Ph.D.


The 1987 Philippine Constitution speaks elaborately of the right to education.  It vows to “…protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and… take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all… (1987 Philippine Constitution, Article XIV).  In principle, the Philippines takes cognizance of the normative characteristics or elements by which the right to education is founded namely: quality education, accessibility of the right and non-discrimination.  By being so, bonded itself to the obligatory nature in realizing the right both legally and politically.

The Philippine, as a state signatory to various instruments providing normative contents to the right to education, is bound by all these treaties and declarations to provide legislative as well as administrative frameworks for the realization of this right.  It must concretize its commitment to promote, protect and fulfill human rights in its development plans.

Politically, according to the Right to Education Project (2008), right to education is also an enabling right.  It “creates the “voice” through which rights can be claimed and protected’, and without education people lack the capacity to ‘achieve valuable functionings as part of the living.”[i] The state is therefore, impelled to muster political will for the realization of this right.  This is the framework by which we shall revisit the state of Philippine Education in the year 2011.

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