THE next time Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo makes a public display of her impatience over slow-paced education reforms by scolding a Cabinet official about miscalculations in the classroom shortage, she should first take a look at how much her government allocates to the education sector.

While the proposed budget for Education, Culture and Manpower Development for 2006 increased nominally to P146.4 billion compared to last year’s P134.5 billion, per capita education expenditure in real terms has been declining in the last five years under the Arroyo administration.

The Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net) claims that as in previous years, the budget allocaton for the education sector remains hardly sufficient to cover for inflation and the projected increment in enrolment.

The proposed P146.4-billion budget represents only 13.9 percent of the national budget, down from last year’s 14.7 percent. This is way below the international benchmark of a 20-percent budget share for education.

Even then, the bulk of the education budget goes to financing personnel services. Only 4.1 percent of last year’s budget went to the construction of schoolbuildings, purchase of books and other teaching tools.

Worst, E-Net says, the proposed education budget represents a mere 2.5-percent share of GDP, short of the international benchmark of 6 percent of GDP. This makes the Philippines one of the least education spenders in Asia and the rest of the world.

At this spending level, E-Net says, the widening education deprivation in the country cannot be realistically addressed. This meager spending cannot as well deliver quality education.

This is where it all becomes political posturing. Arroyo may have proclaimed her commitment to Education for All as a priority of her administration, but the same is not reflected in the government’s expenditure program.

The staggering effects of the dwindling resources provided to education are reflected in these realities:

  • one in 10 Filipinos had never gone to school (6.8 million)
  • one in six Filipinos is not functionally literate (9.6 million)
  • one in three children/youth is not in school (11.6 million)
  • one in every three entrants to Grade 1 drops out and fails to complete elementary education

E-Net says the quality of education has deteriorated to such an alarming level that the country now ranks among the poorest education performers in Asia and the rest of the developing world.

To illustrate:

Edicio dela Torre of E-Net says addressing these critical gaps in the education sector will require allocating more resources to finance programs to improve access and quality of education in the country.

Dela Torre proposes that the P31.11 budget earmarked for Arroyo’s “pro-poor programs” be reallocated to cover financing gaps in education which he conservatively estimates at P15 billion annually.

In line with the Senate’s budget cuts in favor of basic social services, he proposes the following additional allocation:

  • P2 billion for the construction of 5,000 additional classrooms to immediately cover the current shortages
  • P1 billion for additional funds for Alternative Learning System to reach out 250,000 out-of-school youth (at P4,500 per student)
  • P2 billion for the hiring of 10,000 additional techers to cover the current gap and reduce the pupil-to-teacher ratio to 45:1
  • P3 billion for an immediate salary increase of P500 per month for the country’s public school teachers
  • P3 billion for additional allocation to MOOE (maintenance, operating and other expenses) to achieve the World Bank benchmark of at least 15-percent allocation to MOOE in the education budget
  • P1 billion for additional funding for post-basic technical education earmarked specifically for training programs to support rural development
  • P3 billion for additional allocation for state universities and colleges (SUCs) to restore the budget to its 2004 level pending further review of the rationalization program for higher education

9 Responses to Impatient for education reforms? Check the education budget first

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ricelander

June 1st, 2006 at 10:54 am

Where did anyone get the idea GMA is interested in educational reforms? Stop questioning her legitimacy, baka lang maisip naman. Until then, everything is tied up to how she could maximize the resources so that her hold of power remains. Tell us how building school buildings could contribute to that end and I tell you you’re insane! At saka, di ba wala namang classroom shortage. Nasa isip lang yan ng maga hinayupak na destabilizers!

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Rizalist

June 1st, 2006 at 11:17 am

The suggestions of Ed de la Torre are akin to giving a Stage IV Lung Cancer Patient more cigarettes. Why throw more good money after bad? The reason for the failure of the public education system is simply that the government is running it. Spending more govt money on education would be sheer folly! Govt should phase out of education. The reason for the high private school tuition fees is the “free” public school system.

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Gurong Bayan

June 1st, 2006 at 12:39 pm

Is GMA serious about education? its nearly a year now..she has not appointed a Secretary at DepED; she instead appointed a known corrupt regional director as assistant secretary…that’s how serious GMA is in education sector..

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jinx

June 1st, 2006 at 12:51 pm

01 June 2006

One can see the half hearted approach by this administration on the educational system of our country:

1. how can anyone claim that there is/are no classrooms shortages??? yet the calim of the grassroots sectors of our education claims that there exist lack of classrooms

2. In the morning, hidlago reported the shortages in classrooms in the country, then comes afternoon prescon, under the wathcful eye of mike “the defender”, all of a sudden the classrooms shortages are gone, wow, how did they do that????

3. The budget of DepEd, increased the DepEd budget, for crying out loud, why do we have to sacrifice the education of our younger generation, and

4. Finally, why not ask our TONGressmen and senaTONG to donate their “pork” to build clasrooms, instead of using it for their personal gains

Pls tell gloria, that hjer enchanted kingdom is being over-run by her crazy minions and clowns, or worst, are we in a nightmare with gloria as freddy kruger???hehehehehehehehehe…………………..

jinx

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Juan Makabayan

June 1st, 2006 at 12:59 pm

GMA’s regime foments an environment that is hostile to the youth. Before education is simple survival. Infant mortality is high, one out four children goes hungry.

Sick, hungry, homeless and helpless, our children are the first and foremost victims of GMA’s ‘Enchanted Kingdom’.

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Gurong Bayan

June 1st, 2006 at 1:59 pm

Jinx good points there. Actually the school building fund 2 Billion very year is not lodged and not in control of DepED. Its with DPWH. and the allocation of school building fund as well as its implementation is controlled by abseentee Tongressman, majority of who have no qualms worshipping gloria. DepED is a mere spectator of the 2 billion. Ganyan every year. If GMA wants to really find out the culprit in classroomm shortage she should have scolded her loyal Tongressmen….

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joselu

June 1st, 2006 at 3:21 pm

I hope that since the senate is scrutinizing the budget,what ever they they take away from other items they can add to DepEd. to at least bring the budget close to the 20% benchmark.
But iut will still take several years just the same to address the shortage anyway.
because one issue is education infrastructure & another is also the quality of education(teachers,equipment etc..)
It seems the brutal truth is everything is equaly important to attend too.The social services, education, health care etc….
There is also the pump priming of the economy so as to be able to generate more income that will in turn generate more revenues.
It’s all a dificult balancing act to do.
Perhaps, barangay hall can be used for classrooms.

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Rizalist

June 1st, 2006 at 6:04 pm

I don’t see why we should automatically turn over P120 billion pesos to the National Teachers Union and the Deped bureaucracy when only 2% of high school seniors can pass the gov’ts own NSAT test. It certainly not doing any good for the youth, but we insist we HAVE to do it. Half of the gov’t’s employees and most of its resources are tied up in “education.” Why?

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Gurong Bayan

June 5th, 2006 at 1:54 pm

If you have a bad economy..the government is the last source of employment…almost half of government employees are in DepED…

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