In a bold move as chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam Aquino has filed a measure making tertiary education in all State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) free for all students.
This is one in four bills he filed yesterday to improve access to quality education in the Philippines.
“In line with the mandate of our Constitution, the State must uphold the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels. This bill seeks to make tertiary education in all State Universities and Colleges free of tuition for its students and fully subsidized by government,” said Sen. Bam in his Free Education in State Colleges and Universities (SUCs) Bill.
He also filed Free Education for Children of Public School Teachers Bill to ensure that children of all public school teachers are given scholarships in all SUCs in the country.
Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committees on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship and Youth in the 16th Congress, is expected to lead the Committee on Education when the 17th Congress opens on July 25.
Based on data from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Sen. Bam said two out of five high school graduates, or 40 percent, do not pursue tertiary education due to high tuition fees and miscellaneous expenses.
“Many of them face the choice between working to help their family or sacrificing the education of other siblings so that one may be sent to college,” the senator said.
Sen. Bam believes that tertiary education is a valuable mechanism that can help Filipino families break out of the poverty cycle, as tertiary degree holders earn twice as much compared to those who do not have postsecondary education.
By providing free college education to all, Sen. Bam believes that poor and low-income families stand to benefit the most, giving them a chance to be empowered economically and socially.
Aside from pushing for free tertiary education, Sen. Bam also filed other measures in the 17th Congress that seek to improve the state of education in the country to world-class standards and living condition of public school teachers.
The Abot Alam Bill seeks to effectively address the needs of Filipino youth aged 7 to 24 who are not attending school.
It will create a comprehensive national framework designed to achieve the government’s aim to provide education for each and every Filipino, particularly out-of-school youth (OSY).
In his Trabaho Center in Schools Bill, Sen. Bam wants to create a job placement office or Trabaho Center to assist Senior High School graduates who opt to find employment and help them find those opportunities.