Senate approves four bills seeking to make post-HS education accessible
Reposted from GMA News Online
30 July 2014
The Senate on Wednesday approved on third and final reading four bills seeking to make education more accessible to students.
Senate Bill No. 2275, also known as the Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014, grants the top 10 students of their graduating public high school class automatic college admission and scholarship to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) of their choice within their provinces or nearby provinces, depending on the size of the SUCs and their course offerings.
The University of the Philippines (UP), however, will be excluded from the list of SUCs due to its institutional autonomy as the national university, unless it comes up with its own scholarship program for the top 10 public high school students.
Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, said once the bill was enacted into law, the scholars would be provided with free tuition fees, textbook allowance and a monthly living allowance.
“The Iskolar ng Bayan Program provides a big incentive for high school students to work hard and excel in their academics in order to rank within the top 10 of their graduating class and be afforded the benefits of this measure,” Cayetano said, adding: “Poverty and lack of opportunities will not hinder the crème de la crème of our public high school system from pursuing higher education.”
Also approved was Senate Bill No. 2272, also known as the Ladderized Education Act of 2014.
Ladderized education is a system of education that allows students to progress between technical-vocational education and training (TVET) and college and vice-versa, while at the same time opening opportunities for career and educational advancement for working and non-working students.
Cayetano said under the ladderized system of education, a student who has completed two years of tech-voc training will receive a certificate, allowing him or her to gain employment as soon as possible. A student may proceed to further studies if he or she would choose to.
She said the bill would synchronize tech-voc and college degree programs, thereby allowing individuals to progress between tech-voc courses, college degree programs and, ultimately, gainful employment.
Another proposal approved was Senate Bill No. 2274, which seeks to expand access to education through open learning and distance education.
Distance education is a mode of delivering education and instruction “on an individual basis to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting, such as the classroom.”
Cayetano said that under the measure, distance education at the tertiary level will be at par with existing standards, and comparable to formal educational systems.
Students enrolling in open learning systems can get their education through the use of different learning technologies and multimedia material, which strictly follow an approved curriculum, Cayetano said.
The Senate also approved a bill introducing entrepreneurship and financial subjects in the curriculum.
Under the bill, the Department of Education would develop and integrate subjects and competencies in entrepreneurship in the curriculum for the primary, secondary and alternative learning modules.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other private institutions would develop entrepreneurship and financial literacy modules for the tertiary and post-secondary education. Financing and grants would also be provided for the students, together with mentoring and the much-needed market linkages.
Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, chairman of the Committee of Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, said the measure would encourage Filipinos to go into businesses for themselves as an alternative solution to unemployment and underemployment.
“As the number of unemployed youth in the country grows each year, we really have to create new ways of thinking to address the epidemic,” Aquino earlier said in his sponsorship speech.
“Through training and exposure, young people would have an option of choosing to be their own bosses and start their own businesses as an option, instead of being an employee for a company that is not their own,” he further said. —Amita Legaspi/BM, GMA News
Photo: Sen. Pia Cayetano with DOST scholars at the Bohol Island State University (BISU)