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4.8 M children out of school -solons

4 June 2017 No Comment

5 June 2017

4.8 M children out of school -solons 4.2 M more dropped out in SY 2015-2016

On Day One of the new school year, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro scored government for failing to curb the worsening out-of-school and dropout rates. This, despite allotting billions to voucher and cash transfer programs alleged to bring more students to schools.

Citing latest participation rates from DepEd, the solons revealed that 4.8 million were out of school in School Year 2015-2016, an 11% increase in 5 years. Elementary school-age children who are not in school more than tripled from around 431,000 in 2011 to 1.4 million in 2015. The number of high school-age youth not enrolled in first to fourth year decreased but remain high in 2015 with 3.4 million. (See table below.)

Completion rate for high school declined in the same period, with 1.9 million, or more than a fourth of the enrollees, dropping out in the middle of the school year. Non-completion in elementary was halved but remain high with about 2.3 million leaving before graduation.

The solons also noted that the wide gaps between elementary and high school enrolments (91.05% and 68.15% in 2015, respectively) indicate that a significant number of those in elementary do not go on and finish high school. This means that while 9 out of 10 elementary school-age children are enrolled in elementary, enrollment in high school dropped to only around 7 out of 10, they said.

“We attribute low enrolment and high drop-out to the alarming shortage of public schools, especially high schools, and the insufficient budget for their maintenance and operations,” Tinio claimed. “With 36,492 public elementary schools and only 7,677 high schools, children in four to five elementary schools will have to cram themselves into a single high school. This means classrooms bursting to capacity, deteriorating learning and teaching conditions, eventually, dropping out of the student.”

Castro added that while almost all barangays in the country have at least 1 elementary school, high schools are found mainly in urban areas and population centers only, at a ratio of 1 high school for every 4 to 5 barangays.

“Students in rural areas take the worst hit. Transportation costs and long travel–hazardous in many cases–to the nearest high schools contribute to students being discouraged to continue their education. That’s why we see Grade 6 completers not enrolling in or dropping out of high school,” Castro lamented.

“The only way to bring more students to school is for government to reverse its habit of underfunding public education, which will enable government to build and maintain more public schools, especially junior and senior high schools,” stressed Tinio. “These dismal enrolment and dropout statistics should be enough to push the Duterte administration to pour more direct investments into public schools.”

The solons urged the administration, which is now finalizing its 2018 budget proposal, to rechannel to public education funds from two big ticket programs, the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

“From 2011 to 2015, funds for GASTPE vouchers doubled while funds for the 4Ps tripled, but our statistics on access of the youth to free basic education even worsened. This is proof of what we have been saying all along–these band-aids are ineffective responses to low access to education and poor alternatives for direct investments for social services,” they ended. ###

data OSY PR

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