philippine education

Sen. Bam continues education advocacy, dedicates new bills for Filipino teachers to his grandparents

Sen. Bam Aquino has filed two measures for the benefit of Filipino teachers and to celebrate their role in the country’s development. 
“Ang mga panukalang ito ay pagkilala sa halaga ng ating mga guro sa pagpapalago ng kaalaman ng mga Pilipino,” said Sen. Bam, principal sponsor of the law for free college education. 
“Dedicated kay Lola Vicky at Lolo Dondoy ang mga panukalang ito. Para ito sa lahat ng mga teacher na piniling ilaan ang kanilang buhay sa edukasyon para tulungan ang kabataan,” added Sen. Bam, referring to his grandparents from his mother’s side, Dondoy and Vicky Aguirre, who worked on establishing the University of Mindanao in Davao and worked as educators until their retirement. 
On Monday, Sen. Bam submitted Senate Bill No. 2057 or the Teachers Compensation and Support Act of 2018 and Senate Bill No. 2058 or the National Teachers Day Act. 
Senate Bill No. 2057 aims to ensure just salaries and ensure reasonable working conditions for private and public school teachers. 
The measure would create a Private School Teachers Salary Subsidy (PSTSS), which will allow government to ensure that the salaries of qualified teachers from accredited private basic education institutions match those of public school teachers. The PSTSS will prioritize private school teachers in schools and areas that primarily serve students from lower income families. 
There will also be free legal assistance, free counselling services, and an education subsidy for qualified and financially disadvantaged teachers who wish to pursue further education. 
The Teachers Compensation and Support Act has the support and participation of various organizations, including the Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAPSCU), Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), National Alliance of Private Schools Philippines, Inc. (NAPSPHIL), and the PEAC-Fund Assistance to Private Education (PEAC-FAPE). 
With the help of the Teachers Dignity Coalition, Sen. Bam also filed Senate Bill No. 2058 to make Oct. 5 a paid non-working holiday for all teachers. 10 Sen. Bam has passed 27 laws including Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act making education free in public universities and colleges.

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 wants to prohibit ‘No Permit, No Exam’ policy

A senator seeks to prohibit the discriminatory “No permit, No exam” policy in schools by making it illegal for any educational institution to prevent a student from taking examinations due to unpaid tuition and other fees.

 “Why should the student be barred from taking their tests and completing their requirements when there’s still a chance their family can settle payment of fees later,” asked Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Education.

Sen. Bam’s Senate Bill No. 1235 prohibits schools from disallowing students with due and unpaid tuition and other school fees from taking examinations or providing a different schedule of exam from the rest of the student body.

The measure also bars schools from requiring a student to secure a special permit to take the examinations from the school authorities prior to the administration of examinations, according to Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education.

A fine of P20,000 but not more than P50,000 will be imposed on any educational institution official or employee.

 This includes deans, coordinators, advisers, professors, instructors, principals, teachers and other concerned individuals found guilty of violating any of the aforementioned acts.

 However, the parents or legal guardian of the student must provide a promissory note, addressed to the school, indicating the amount and the date of payment as protection to the school’s right to fair payment.

 The measure covers private elementary schools, private secondary schools, public and private post-secondary technical-vocational institutes and public and private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), including local colleges and universities.

  “By penalizing this unlawful practice, Filipino families stand to gain by ensuring that students unable to settle educational fees on-time, may still benefit from the continuity of their education once outstanding balances are fully paid,” Sen. Bam said.

“Tulungan po natin ang pamilyang Pilipino na umasenso sa tulong ng edukasyon,” he added.

By protecting the welfare of students, Sen. Bam pointed out that they will have a fair opportunity to complete their education.

Senate Bill No. 173: Free Education for Public School Teacher’s Children Act

Who would appreciate the great value of education more than the very people who have dedicated their lives to teaching in our public schools?

Many of our public school teachers sacrifice higher paying jobs and more comfortable working environments to answer their calling of educating those from less fortunate families. Their act of public service is invaluable to the lives of their students and molding the future of our country.

But as they fulfill their vocation in the field of education, they too struggle to afford the tuition fees to send their own children to school. With the meager salaries of public school teachers, paying for a college education comes as a heavy burden.

To unburden our modern-day heroes and to promote the value of education and becoming an educator, this bill endeavors to provide full tuition subsidies available in all State Universities and Colleges in the Philippines for the children of public school teachers.

This measure is in line with our efforts to improve access to quality education for every young Filipino and sends the message that becoming an educator within our public school system is a dignified vocation worthy of special benefits from the State.

Let’s continue to support and reward citizens who take part in nation-building and creating a brighter future for the next generation of young Filipinos.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this bill is earnestly sought.






Senate Bill 0172: An Act Institutionalizing the Abot Alam Program

At the age of 78, Miguel Lajos is graduating with a degree in AB Political Science from the University of the Visayas‐Dalaguete.

“It is never too late,” he tells people.

Miguel Lajos is not alone in his aspiration to continue schooling and earn a degree but, like him, too many Filipinos are faced with challenges such as poverty that impede on their education.

The Abot Alam Bill seeks to effectively address the needs of the fast growing numbers of Filipino youth aged 7 to 24 who are not attending school.

This measure calls for the creation of a comprehensive national framework designed to achieve the government’s aim to provide education for each and every Filipino.

Targeting the out‐of‐school (OSY), including those who are at risk of dropping out and those who have never had any formal schooling, the Abot Alam program has the following directives:

1) Data banking to enable the government to know the total percentage of OSY in the country and where these OSY are through the Barangay Abot Alam Targeting System;

2) A program mapping system to ensure that the initiatives and resources of all government agencies, non‐government organizations and institutions, volunteer groups, and all other sectors mandated to solving the challenges of OSY in the country are cohesive and efficient;

3) A focus on reintegration and equal opportunity through the program matching system so that all OSY are given equal access to programs and services of partner agencies and institutions.

At the heart of this policy is every Filipino’s right to quality education and we are hopeful that this policy moves us forward to an era where all our countrymen are empowered by education.

In view of the foregoing, the approval of this measure is earnestly sought.




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.




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