Students seek ‘educ-friendly’ budget

3 08 2011

PRESS STATEMENT

August 4, 2011

 

Students seek ‘educ-friendly’ budget

 

References:

JC TEJANO, 0917-836-0354

GIBBY GORRES, 0917-362-7480

 

As the House Committee on Appropriations deliberate the proposed 2012 budget for state universities and colleges (SUCs) today, a group of students criticized ‘the perennial policy of the government for education underspending’.

In a statement, the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) criticized the budget proposal of the Department of Budget and Managament (DBM) saying it needs to be more ‘educ-friendly’.

DBM pegs the budget for the 110 SUCs at P21.9 B for 2012, a 7.6% decrease from this year’s P 23.7 B.

“While we recognize that the budget for the basic education sector has increased, we are deeply concerned with the budget cuts for SUCs as government policy”, says JC Tejano, SCAP’s national spokesperson.

“The budget cuts will ultimately lead to increase in tuition and other fees once SUCs cannot manage to generate income”, he adds.

SCAP maintains that the budget increase for basic education should be taken with a grain of salt.

“The implementation of the K+12 inevitably calls for higher budget for basic ed”, explains Tejano.  The K+12 serves the current administration’s flagship education reform program that adds two more years to the basic education program.

“Even with the increase in basic education budget, the education sector as a whole remains underfunded”, Tejano adds.

SCAP suggests that the government must start with the international standard for education funding, if it seeks to extend the number of basic education years.

Citing data from the Freedom from Debt Coalition, SCAP says that Aquino’s education spending this year amounts only to 2.44% of the Gross National Product (GNP), still way below the recommendation of the Delors Commission under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of 6% of GNP.

“Reforms in the basic education sector should not compromise the higher education sector and vice versa. Automatically appropriating 6% of the GNP to education, the budget deficit for all education levels shall be met”, quips Tejano.

SCAP maintains that it welcomes the K+12 if it is not done “in a piecemeal approach”.

“It does not suffice that you extend the number of years.  Education reform has a lot of components and a piecemeal approach may prove ineffective,” urges Tejano.

Education, not debt servicing

The group also cites the gross over-prioritization on debt servicing.

“Why cut on SUC budget when we spend P 372.1 B for debt servicing?” asks the group.

Tejano concludes that the budget problem for SUCs can be solved if the government “gains the political will to reject the payment of dubious debts and focus on providing welfare to its people”. #





Education Underspending is NOT “Matuwid na Daan”

3 08 2011

EDUCATION UNDERSPENDING IS NOT “MATUWID NA DAAN”

Statement of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines on the 2012 Proposed Budget

The second State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Noynoy Aquino once again brought to the fore the corruption cases linked to the past administration.  A year after his inauguration, the PNoy administration’s fervent fight against corruption is to be lauded, especially when democratic spaces have been opened for civil society groups and people’s organizations.

Anti-corruption measures, however, do not complete the puzzle in order to lift this country and its people from their sordid state.  Sound economic policies should be in tandem with anti-corruption measures in order to deliver social justice and realize inclusive economic growth.

One of the administration’s pet programs, the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), serves as a poverty-containment measure that should be complemented with sound welfare services.  The education sector, however, may remain in a sordid state due to underfunding.

PNoy’s administration was also met with protests from student and youth organizations because of the budget cuts administered for State Universities and Colleges (SUC).  PNoy’s budget message submitted to the 15th Congress says “We are gradually reducing the subsidy to SUCs to push them towards becoming self-sufficient and financially-independent, given their ability to raise their income and to utilize it for their programs and projects”.  This vision for SUCs resulted to massive budget cuts, especially for Philippine Normal University and the University of the Philippines system.

The 2012 budget proposed by the administration paints a similar bleak picture for the education sector.  The Department of Education will get the biggest pie from the proposed 1.816T peso-budget with the obligation of P214 B, more than a 10% increase from this year’s appropriation.  The allocation includes the School Building Fund, a project to increase classrooms for basic education in tandem with the K+12.  The administration’s K+12 program serves as the flagship program for the education sector.  The K+12 seeks to adhere to international standards by extending the number of years of for basic education from 10 to 12 years.

The implementation of the K+12 can arguably be called noble and ultimately necessary, but the government must first face and take the immediate steps in addressing other factors that cause the crises in education.

The international standard for education spending is pegged at 6% of the country’s gross national product (GNP), as recommended by the Delors Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  The country’s current education spending is at 2.44% GNP.

The move by the current administration to pave the way for self-sufficiency of SUCs proves detrimental to those who are currently in tertiary education.  Budget cuts by the current administration will result to a massive increase in tuition and other fees if SUCs fail to generate funds from income-generating and research and development projects.

While school administrators are burdened by the dilemma of income-generation, the administration’s budget remains to be debt-driven.  Although debt payments have decreased from 372.1 B pesos of this year to 367.2B pesos in the proposed 2012 budget, it is still grossly over prioritized compared to the SUC budget of P 21.9 B for the delivery of quality education in 110 state universities and colleges, a decrease from this year’s P 23.7 B.

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines urges the PNoy administration to lay down a progressive reform agenda for the education sector that does not discriminate against tertiary education.

We urge the Committee on Appropriations to reject the supposed infallibility of the Automatic Appropriations Act which bleeds the country’s coffers of resources that could be invested in welfare services especially for the poor.

We urge the people’s representatives in Congress to invest in quality education that entails the 6% of the country’s GNP allocated for public education spending.

Education underspending is not “matuwid na daan”.





A Resolution Supporting a National Legislation to Secure Students’ Rights and Welfare (15th Congress)

1 08 2011

Whereas, student organizations and student governments are ideally the legitimate representatives of the student body by virtue of their electoral mandates such that their foremost concern is to ensure that their constituencies get to enjoy and practice their constitutionally guaranteed human rights.

Whereas, the Coalition of Students’ Rights and Welfare, a network of student councils/governments, student political parties and youth-student organizations, supports and promotes students’ rights and welfare.

Whereas, despite the guarantees of the 1987 Bill of Rights, students are still placed at a disadvantageous position when it comes to claiming their stakes in the whole democratic process within academic institutions.

Whereas, students are perpetually susceptible and vulnerable to unfair power and political plays of the bureaucracy within the academic institution, bereft of due process and representation.

Whereas, to completely promote and protect our students, all academic institutions and the State itself should ensure the students’ safety and well-being.

Whereas, to be able to do this, a black and white law should be implemented, specifically to guard students’ rights and welfare.

Whereas, Senate Bills 108, 911, and 1144 filed by Senators Honasan, Villar and Estrada seek to secure the democratic rights of our students.

Whereas, the Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare believes that the bills are concrete mechanisms to stop social injustices against students and assure them of a healthy and academically nurturing community.

Therefore, be it resolved, today, August 2, 2011, in the Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare NCR Assembly that the Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare would support and campaign for the passage of a national legislation that would secure the democratic, civil and political liberties of the Filipino student.

 

For the Coalition,

 

GIO TINGSON, Lead Convenor

GIBBY GORRES, Lead Convenor

 

Signatory organizations:

  1. College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council – University of the Philippines Diliman
  2. Buklod CSSP – University of the Philippines Diliman
  3. University of the East Student Council
  4. Kapisanan ng Diwa at Panitik – Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (KADIPI)
  5. Alliance of Progressive Students – Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (APS)
  6. Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila
  7. Akbayan! Youth
  8. Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement – Ateneo de Manila University (CRUSADA)
  9. Bigkis ng mga Iskolar Para sa Bayan Tungo sa Makabuluhang Pagbabago – University of the Philippines Manila (BIGKIS-UPM)
  10. Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Kaunlaran at Katarungan – University of the Philippines Diliman (UP ALYANSA)
  11. Political Science Society – Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa
  12. College of Arts and Sciences Student Society – Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa
  13. Black and White Youth Movement
  14. Colegio de San Juan de Letran Student Council
  15. De La Salle University Student Government
  16. Student Council Alliance of the Philippines
  17. Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista – De La Salle University (TAPAT)
  18. One Initiative Movement – Ateneo de Manila University