education in the philippines

Students back free tuition in SUCs, call it way to better future

“We now have a chance to rise from poverty and have a better future”.

 Thus said Jen Mark Calub, an aviation communication student at the Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PhilSCA), as he welcomed the proposed free tuition in state colleges and universities (SUCs).

 As a student regent, Calub is aware of the situation that financially challenged students undergo, especially when it comes to payment of tuition fee and other school charges.

 “Every enrollment, students asking for more time to pay their tuition fee due to lack of financial capacity is a common sight in our school,” said Calub.

 “The most common reason is the meager salaries of their parents while other students have to work for their tuition fee,” added Calub.

 Calub said PhilSCA students are now optimistic about finishing their college degree through the help of Senate Bill No. 1304 or the “Free Higher Education for All Act”, principally sponsored by Sen. Bam Aquino.

Currently being tackled in the plenary, the measure seeks to provide free tuition fee to all students in SUCs.

 “When we learned about the measure, we now believe that there is still hope for those who want to continue with their education at PhilSCA,” said Calub.

Tristen Jamon, supreme student council president at PhilSCA’s Basa Palmayo Campus, echoed Calub’s view, saying the measure will inspire students to finish their dream degree.

“Ito ang magbibigay sa amin ng pagkakataon upang makamit ang aming mga pangarap at magsisilbing motibasyon upang pagsikapan pang lalo ang aming pag-aaral,” he said.

 A student from the University of the Philippines-Diliman who requested anonymity, said the measure, if passed into law, will help Iskolars ng Bayan like him hurdle financial obstacles that hamper their studies.

 Aside from Sen. Bam, other authors of the measure are Sens. Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Francis Pangilinan, Sonny Angara, Loren Legarda, Leila de Lima, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon.

Bam: CHED ‘out of touch’ on claim SUC students are ‘moneyed, non-poor’

Senator Bam Aquino described as “out of touch” the Commission on Higher Education’s claim that students in state colleges and universities (SUCs) are mostly moneyed and non-poor.

 “Three out of four ng estudyante sa SUC ay nagda-drop-out dahil kulang ang kanilang pambayad. Paano sila naging mayaman,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress.

 Sen. Bam’s reaction came after CHED chairperson Patricia Licuanan said in a television interview that “only moneyed and non-poor students will enjoy the P8.3-billion budget for free tuition fee in SUCs”.

 While he admitted that the country’s “poorest of the poor” are not in college, Sen. Bam said many of the students in SUCs still come from families of minimum-wage earners.

 “Hindi masasabing sila ang poorest of the poor, pero kailangan pa rin nila ng tulong pinansiyal para makatapos ng kolehiyo,” said Sen. Bam.

As chairman of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam said the institutionalization of free tuition in SUCs will keep students in schools and lead to more college graduates.

 “We want more people to get a degree. Sana sa tulong ng repormang ito, dumami pa ang college graduates sa Pilipinas na makatutulong sa kanilang pamilya sa malapit na hinaharap,” Sen. Bam said in a television interview.

Aquino filed Senate Bill No. 177 or the Free Higher Education for All Act giving free tuition fee to all students in SUCs.

 Aside from Sen. Bam’s bill, several senators have filed similar measures to institutionalize free college education in SUCs beyond the allocation of P8.3 billion in the 2017 budget.

“We’re very positive about it, we’re very hopeful about this bill, and we’re getting a lot of cross-party support. We hope to pass it as soon as possible,” said Sen. Bam.

Aside from free tuition fees in SUCs, Sen. Bam has also filed other education-related bills in the 17th Congress.

 Among them is the Senate Bill No. 1278 or Trabaho Centers in Schools Act, which recently hurdled the committee level and will be discussed in plenary this year.

Sen. Bam also wants to give out of school youth (OSY) in the country access to education through his Senate Bill No. 171 or the Abot Alam Bill, which seeks to institutionalize alternative learning system (ALS).

Bam: P8B budget for college tuition, good sign for free higher ed law

The additional P8 billion budget for free tuition in colleges and universities is a good sign that we will pass the Free Higher Education for All bill, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

  “The Senate initiative to make colleges and universities tuition-free is a major reform that will greatly benefit Filipino families and the approved 8-billion peso budget for SUCs is a good sign that our bill will pass,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education.

During Tuesday’s bicameral conference committee, lawmakers approved the additional P8 billion budget to be distributed to different SUCs in 2017.

As chairman of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No. 177 or the Free Higher Education for All Act giving free tuition fee to all students in SUCs.

 Earlier, Sen. Bam expressed confidence that the measure will be enacted into law next year due to the Senate’s overwhelming support for its passage.

 “Mahalaga na mabigyan ng tulong ang ating mahihirap na estudyante at pati ang kanilang mga magulang. Marami sa amin ang talagang tinutulak ito,” said Sen. Bam.

 During a recent hearing, several sectors pushed different methods to implement the measure. Some groups want to focus on specific courses while others believe that it should be based on the student’s capacity to pay.

 Different groups also raised the possibility of expanding the measure’s coverage by providing poor students with miscellaneous expenses, transportation expenses and living expenses, in addition to a free tuition fee.

 Aside from improving access to tertiary education, Sen. Bam said he will also work to improve the quality of public education in the Philippines and address underemployment and jobs mismatch through Trabaho Centers.


Bam to gov’t, stakeholders: Join forces to take education to next level

Come together to take our education systems to the next level!
This was the challenge issued by Sen. Bam Aquino to concerned government agencies and private stakeholders during the 2016 Philippine Education Summit held Thursday at the SMX Convention Center.
“I am hopeful that all stakeholders are willing to work together and focus on producing quality education,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture in the 17th Congress.
In the 2017 budget, P650 billion has been earmarked for education, or equivalent to 19 percent of the total budget.
Out of this, P567 billion will go to the Department of Education, P75 billion to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and P6.87 billion to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
“Now that we have the resources to make a quantum leap in our education sector, let’s come together to take our educational systems to the next level,” Sen. Bam pointed out.
However, Sen. Bam said the challenge is to make sure that the budget for education is felt by the public, especially the students in public schools and state colleges and universities (SUCs).
During the summit, Sen. Bam also reiterated the Senate’s commitment to support the government’s pursuit to further improve quality of education in the country. 
As chairman of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam is pushing for the passage of a measure that will give free tertiary education in all SUCs.
Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No. 177 or the Free Higher Education for All Act giving free tuition fee to all students in SUCs.
Sen. Bam has also submitted Senate Bill No. 170 or the Trabaho Center in Schools Act that creates an employment office in every senior high school, giving SHS graduates access to available job opportunities.
The senator also wants to give out of school youth (OSY) in the country access to education through his Senate Bill No. 171 or the Abot Alam Bill, which seeks to institutionalize alternative learning system (ALS).

Universal Access to Quality Higher Education Act

In the Philippines, 2 out of 5 high school graduates do not pursue tertiary education, hindered by the high tuition fees in addition to miscellaneous expenses in cured while studying. After spending many years working hard to make ends meet in order to put their children through school to obtain a high school diploma, it is often a disappointment to students who face the choice between working to help their family sacrificing the education of other siblings so that one may be sent to college.

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.

Tertiary education is a valuable key that can help Filipino families break out of the poverty cycle, as families headed by tertiary degree holders earn, on average, two times as much as families who do not have postsecondary education.

However, higher education is often only available to middle-income families who can afford the high tuition fees and extra costs. As a result, these families continue to reap the benefits of obtaining a postsecondary education while poor families continue struggling to reach beyond their current economic situation.

In a nation with glaring income and educational inequality, the provision of tuition-free college education will be one great leap toward developing our fragile benefit the most and will be empowered both economically and socially to be able to fully participate in our democratic nation.

A college education is not only a qualification that results in higher paying jobs, but it is most importantly a means for the development of knowledge, innovation and social change in a nation. Supporting the growth of higher education in the Philippines will serve to heighten the quality of our workforce so that we may partake more meaningfully in the global production of knowledge.




Bam ready for challenges as he takes helm of education committee

Sen. Bam Aquino expressed readiness to take on the challenge of improving the Philippine education system after he was appointed chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress.
“I am looking forward to heading the committee on education and concentrating our efforts on ensured access to quality education for all Filipinos,” said Sen. Bam.
“Alam naman natin na ang edukasyon ang isang tiyak na solusyon sa pag-unlad ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino kaya lubos namin itong sineseryoso,” he added.
Even before officially taking the helm of the education committee, Sen. Bam has already filed sixteen education related measures in the 17th Congress, including a resolution to oversee the implementation of major reforms under the K to 12 program.
One of his boldest policies, Senate Bill No. 177, seeks to make tertiary education free in all State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
He also hopes to ensure that graduates are given access to available job opportunities by creating an employment office in every senior high school through the passage of the Trabaho Center in Schools Bill (Senate Bill No. 170).
Another promising measure endeavors to further reduce the number of out of school youth (OSY) in the country through the Abot Alam Bill (Senate Bill No. 171).
Through this bill, Sen. Bam wishes to institutionalize the successful Abot Alam program headed by the Department of Education and the National Youth Commission that has already cut the number of OSYs in half.
Other measures focus on the welfare and benefits of Filipino students and teachers.
“Marami pa tayong isusulong na mga panukala na tutulong sa pagpapaangat ng kalidad at abot-kayang edukasyon sa bansa,” Sen. Bam promised.
“This is a big challenge but with hard work and team work, I believe we can create lasting reforms that will uplift the lives of our young countrymen and their families,” he added.
Overall, Sen. Bam has 15 laws to his credit and has already filed over 100 bills and resolutions for the 17th Congress.


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