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PIA Press Release

PGMA doubles education budget to P180-B a year

Investment in education has doubled under the current administration

Manila (10 February) -- In her speech delivered Tuesday morning, February 09, 2010, at the Real Elementary School in Calamba City, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo noted that in 2001, when she assumed office, the budget for state colleges, the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was only P90 billion.

The budget for education this year is P180 billion.

The President was in the school to underscore the thrust of her administration to improve the educational system and to attain zero drop-out rate in the primary grades.

According to the President, the government, since 2001, has built 100,000 school buildings, hired 60,000 teachers, and increased their monthly salary from P9, 000 to P14,000 a month. It has also allocated P1.5 billion for teacher's training in English proficiency.

Largely because of this improvement in the educational system, the President said, test scores went up in the last four years from 44 percent to 65 percent in elementary schools and 36 percent to 47 percent in secondary schools.

Still, she pointed out, the quality of education has to improve further. And at no other stage is this needed than in early childhood.

It is for this reason that the President signed Executive Order 685 in 2008 in compliance with RA 8980, which mandates state-sponsored childhood care for five-year-olds up to pre-schoolers.

She said research has it "that pre-school is a determinant factor in the performance of Grade I pupils in the formal education system."

In her State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last year, the President said that as a teacher herself, she is biased in favor of the teaching profession. That's why she has since then allocated more and more funds for education and skills training.

The President admitted that universal education is one of the most difficult objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), saying that almost no country has attained it.

"But we are doing our best," she stressed, adding that of the total number of classrooms built during her term, 1,000 of them went to remote barangays.

"We also removed miscellaneous fees in the primary school, and made the wearing of student uniforms optional in public schools," President Arroyo said.

The President has directed DepEd to coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to implement the Early Childhood Care and Development program.

To ensure that even children of the poor stay in school, the President initiated the food-for-school program, which so far benefited 95,440 children. She also established the 4Ps or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, with at least a million poor families getting cash assistance for health and education.

"The youth are our hope and inspiration," the President said. "The government thus works hard to give them a bright future."

The government has also provided scholarship to 600,000 students taking under- graduate and post-graduate courses in private colleges and universities. It has also spend P36 billion in technical education and skills training.

"I will continue to be a hands-on President until the day I leave office," she said. "I will work to promote education, improve the economy, and protect the environment." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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