Anakbayan to Noynoy: No need for vocational education if right to education can be guaranteed
Youth group Anakbayan joined other youth and student organizations in a march to Mendiola Bridge today to challenge newly-sworn President Noynoy Aquino to make educational reform a priority, especially in the first one hundred days of his administration.
The group also voiced apprehension over some of the passages in Noynoy’s inaugural speech referring to education.
In his inauguration speech last Wednesday, Aquino mentioned among his administration’s programs “Dekalidad na edukasyon, kabilang ang edukasyong bokasyonal para makapaghanap ng marangal na trabaho ang hindi makapag-kolehiyo”.
“Is he conditioning the youth into accepting a continuation of Gloria Arroyo’s policy of abandoning state responsibility for education?” said Anakbayan national-vice chairperson Anton Dulce.
Under Arroyo, vocational schools were emphasized as an alternative to formal tertiary education.
“There is no need for the vocational ‘fallback plan’ if he can guarantee quality college and high school education that is accessible to all” he said.
Anakbayan suggested that the new Administration should adopt a comprehensive approach in addressing the increasing number of drop-outs in all school levels.
“In the previous years, survey after survey has shown that the number one reason for students dropping-out is the low income of parents. This makes them unable to afford even the most basic expenditures such as baon and pamasahe” said the group’s national vice-chairperson.
“Raising the wages of workers, bettering the livelihood opportunities of the peasants in the countryside, and controlling or even rolling-back prices of basic commodities and services should go hand in hand with the tuition freeze” he added.
Among the immediate reforms advocated by Anakbayan are:
- The emergency reallocation of OP (Office of the President) funds to the education sector.
- Prioritization of the passage of the P125 wage hike bill, and the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, in the new Congress.
- An immediate review of policies with direct affect to prices of commodities and services, such as the VAT (Value Added Tax), Oil Deregulation Law, EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act), and the privatization of water utilities.
Finally, Dulce reiterated the group’s demand for an immediate tuition freeze, saying it would be a ‘good first step’ in addressing the drop-out issue, as well as ‘something doable in Noynoy’s first 100 days’.