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”. #

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