In light of the recent student protests in PUP against the 2000% increase in tuition fees as a result of the government’s policy of abandoning state universities and colleges, the need for Presidential candidates to take a categorical stand on the issue has become more crucial as it is a test of their commitment to truly bringing about change and serving the Filipino people, especially the youth.
The 1987 Constitution mandates in Article XIV Sec. 5 (5) that the “State shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education.” So it is a solemn duty of the next Chief Executive to carry out this mandate and it would be interesting as to how the current Presidential candidates plan on doing this.
However, as of this writing, none of the Presidential candidates has taken a stand on this issue, which leaves us to consult their platforms, in whatever form it may be, and try to elucidate their stand on the matter.
A quick website hopping and a little browsing in their respective websites have turned out the following:
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino of the Liberal Party
Assistance To Private Schools As Essential Partners In Basic Education
Private education must be a partner in producing quality education in the country. I intend to expand GASTPE (Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education) to a target of 1 million private HS students every year through education service contracting (ESC) while doing away with the wasteful education voucher system (EVS) of this administration.
I will expand government assistance to private education. A strong private school system will strengthen our public schools by providing parents an alternative and not adding to the overcrowding.
The subheading says it all. True to his Liberal ideology of lesser state control in social services, at present it seems, that the policy of leaving the state universities and colleges to fend off for themselves would be continued.
Manuel “Manny” Villar of the Nacionalista Party
None. Since I cannot find Manny Villar’s invisible platform.
Fifth, that we must prioritize EDUCATION as the key to national development to compete and lead in the new global economy
Gordon’s take on the matter is better than Manny Villar, though falls short of any specific plans because as of now it’s just a prime-grade example of a motherhood statement.
- Identify the top 100 secondary educational institutions of the country, provide support for their innovative practices, document and disseminate their creative educational practices, and enter into partnerships with them as hubs of educational excellence.
- Do an in-depth study, involving all stakeholders, as basis for the gradual transfer educational services to the cultural non-profit sector of society especially in partnership with the community.
- Create the policy environment for strengthening the role of private education in all levels of the school system.
- Increase the usage of educational vouchers to widen the choices of parents. Increase focus beyond just quantity of education services to quality of education services including more holistic educational approaches that develop multi-talented, creative, critical-thinking, socially-oriented students and citizens. (For other educational initiatives, see section below on Holistic Education and Inner Change.)
Though Nick Perlas wants to overhaul the education system itself, it is still in line with policy of giving a bigger attention to the private education sector.
Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro
Government should do its utmost to pro-actively provide for quality universal primary and secondary education that is accessible to all. Tertiary education must also be supported by way of providing for a massive student loan program to enable all qualified students to fulfill their dreams of gaining more knowledge to improve their life-chances.
From the above-quoted portion of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD platform, it’s more of the same banana: prioritize public elementary and secondary education while leaving tertiary education on its own, mitigating student problems with student loans.
Joseph “Erap” Estrada
His platform focuses more on Universal access to primary education while targets to increase more government scholars in Tertiary education instead of student loans.
His plan is to have more college scholars via:
By working towards free college or tertiary-level education of poor but determined and industrious students nationwide.
To promtoe educational democracy and end the school profit-orientation dictated by the IMF and WB by doubling the public education budget, removing the rationale for tuition fees in state colleges and universities and enabling the poor to enroll..
Hers is quite interesting for she is the only candidate that tows the national-democratic, anti-imperialist line of resisting privatization of the tertiary education and gives more budgetary allocation instead. Something what the “Iskolars ng Bayan” and the Makabayan Coalition are calling for. Now why haven’t Jamby Madrigal grouped with Makabayan instead since, based on their platforms, they have many shared principles and programs?
At present, based on the candidates’s platforms, it seems that the call for greater state support for tertiary education would fall on deaf ears. Or would they turn against their platforms as a genuine and sincere gesture of serving the youth or simply for scoring brownie points among the young voters?
We are still waiting and watching.