Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Leaving it up to the Ayalas to educate the next generation of Filipinos

It seems the government of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's solution to improving access to publication is to make government less accountable for public education and leave it up to big private profit-oriented corporations to educate the next generation of Filipinos.
"We are gradually reducing the subsidy to [State Universities and Colleges (SUCs)] to push them toward becoming self-sufficient and financially independent, given their ability to raise their [own] income," Aquino added.

Aquino said the executive branch only lowered the budget for SUCs like UP because the country's premier state university has other sources of funds, such as tuition hikes and tie-ups with private corporations such as the UP-Ayala Technohub.

Consider how much the other major ASEAN countries spend on public education as a percentage of total government expenditure (ranking in parentheses)...

Malaysia 28.0% (4)
Thailand 27.5% (6)
Singapore 18.2% (44)
Philippines, 17.2% (53)

Source: Nationmaster.com

How much lower in the scheme of our regional performance standards do we want to go? Then again, even in this one, the Philippines remains consistent with its national talent -- being the best at being last.

6 comments:

  1. This is utter B.S. on the part of the government. The accepted international minimum for public education spending is 6%, irrespective of self-funding abilities of the schools. The Philippines consistently struggles to find it in themselves to reach even 2%.

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  2. 6% of GDP, I should have said. The red mist of being confronted by administrative idiocy had me thinking faster than I can type.

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  3. No different to how the government shirking its responsibility for building and operating a real mass transport system delegated this to the private sector. Result: Moronic jeepneys, killer buses, kuligligs, tricycles, and pedicabs.

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  4. Wow, that's even worse than sub-Saharan Africa, which is pretty much the global cesspool of AIDS and civil conflict.

    The funny bit is this privatization line of thought is the kind of mentality I would expect from a free-market type that also thinks that opening up the country to more FDI would help.

    Some things should be "socialized." Education, being a basic human right and not something that should be taken for-profit, is one of them.

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  5. I don't know that I'd necessarily call education a human 'right', but I do think of it as an essential responsibility of the state. It is, after all, a matter of proper management of human capital.

    Up to a point; a sound basic education through high school should be available to all. After that, it should be a matter of: whether one has means and meets at least basic standards to provide for his own higher education, or one is exceptional and would be a sound investment for the state. I disagree with the thinking of the government on this issue not because I think everyone should get subsidized college -- they shouldn't -- but because it's a matter of funds having been spent poorly instead of a matter of too much having been spent. And even if they want to stick to the line of "the schools can support themselves," then why is the funding not being shifted back into the primary and secondary education levels? The end result of this plan is just further erosion of the quality of the entire education system from bottom to top.

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  6. Education is actually a human right as described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26. But it still follows your train of thought there:

    Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

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