By MART D. SAMBALUD
DAVAO City — Lawmakers scored the implementation of the government’s voucher and cash transfer program as 4.8 million Filipino children were out of school.
In a statement, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro said the government failed “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.”
At least 4.8 million were out of school in School Year 2015-2016, an 11 percent increase in five 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, according to Department of Education’s record of participation rates of public school students.
Meanwhile, the 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.
“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 said.
The lawmakers also noted the wide gaps between elementary and high school enrolments (91.05 percent and 68.15 percent in 2015, respectively) which indicates 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,” the ACT solons said. (davaotoday.com)