Erap readies Manila Education Development Program
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – Ruing what he called the dismal state of public education in the capital city, mayoral candidate Joseph “Erap” Estrada said Sunday he was readying a comprehensive Education Development Program for Manila that will address pressing concerns of the city’s students and teachers.

“This program will ensure quality, accessible and efficient education for Manila’s youth to help them succeed in their future career or profession, as well as promote the development of the teachers in the city,” Estrada said, lamenting the deterioration of the education system in the city in the past years.

Manila, he said, has been considered the ‘center of education’ in the Philippines, owing to its having the most number of educational institutions: 71 public elementary schools, 31 high schools and several public and private colleges and universities.

Yet it is ironic, he said, that Manila didn’t even make it to the Top 20 Divisions for Public Schools based on the ranking of the EFA (Education for All) - Education Development Indicators (EDI) set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“The education system in Manila has been neglected by the local government,” Estrada said, adding that the high cost of education has been a major problem of students and their parents, thus keeping many among the youths from school.

He also cited a study conducted by University of the Philippines (UP) professors, showing that problems besetting the city’s education system include: high drop-out rates; high number of repeaters; low passing grades; lack of language skills; failure to adequately address the concerns of people with special needs; overcrowded classrooms; and poor teacher performance.’

The Estrada Education Development Program, he explained, includes:

A.   for the students:

-          enough funds for local government subsidy/investment on their education;

-          ensuring textbooks, school supplies and uniforms;

-          school feeding program for the malnourished/undernourished;

-          computer literacy classes and provision of computers in schools;

-          education program for children and youth with special needs as well as other marginalized groups;

-          daycare centers;

-          technical-vocational education;

-          programs for out-of-school youth; and,

B.   for the teachers and non-teaching personnel:

-          decent salary and benefits provided to them on time;

-          continuing education and training programs;

-          system of promotion and career development; and

-          comprehensive welfare assistance which includes medical and housing benefits.

 “There are several means and opportunities for education development that were provided for in our laws, but it is very disappointing that the city government of Manila has not utilized these (means and opportunities) properly; and worse, the bulk of the funds earmarked for the education sector had not been used for their intended purpose,” Estrada said, adding: