Among the many things that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte will be remembered for is how it opened doors for the Filipino youth to explore opportunities, leading to empowerment, success, and realization of their aspirations.
Through the Department of Education, students, including the poor, received a quality education and equitable allocation of crucial resources.
As of May 2021, the Department of Public Works and Highways reported it has constructed various basic education facilities, including 150,149 classrooms and 2,064 school workshop buildings nationwide.
“Nakapagpadagdag din tayo ng 206,000 na guro na madaragdagan pa ng humigit kumulang na 10,000 sa darating na Agosto (We also hired 206,000 additional teachers while 10,000 more teachers will be hired in August),” Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista said during the “Pamana ng Pagbabago: The 2021 Pre-SONA (State of the Nation Address) Forum” at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on July 14.
Bautista is the chair of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster that highlighted the major accomplishments in the social protection, health, education, agriculture, and employment sector as a prelude to the final SONA of Duterte on Monday.
Bautista said the continued implementation of the K to 12 program paved the way for the government to make sure that 3.2 million students have the academic skills and are continually trained for international standards.
“Natulungan rin ng pamahalaan ang mahigit na 2.2 million na kabataan na nais mag-aral ng high school ngunit walang sapat na kakayahang pinansiyal sa pamamagitan ng (The government also helped about 2.2 million financially challenged youth who wanted to finish high school through) assistance programs tulad ng (like the) Education Service Contracting Programs and Senior High School Voucher Program,” he said.
The Duterte administration strengthened Republic Act 11510, or the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Act, to provide adequate and timely attention and support to the basic learning needs of out-of-school youth and indigenous peoples.
So far, the ALS has more than 3.6 beneficiaries nationwide.
To ensure that learning continues and all Filipino students receive quality education amid the Covid-19 pandemic, DepEd empowered modular distance learning with the distribution of over one million computers, laptops, and tablets in 93 percent of schools in the country.
In line with this, DepEd trained teacher-broadcasters who educate learners without Internet access through television and radio. So far, 1,427 episodes have been created.
Students and teachers’ safety comes first, thus the continued suspension of face-to-face classes amid the presence of the more transmissible variants of the coronavirus and while population protection through vaccines has not been achieved yet.
“Binigyan tayo ng assurance ni (National Task Force Against Covid-19 chief) Secretary (Carlito) Galvez na susubukan nila (We were given assurance by Secretary Galvez that they will try) by August, perhaps the latest to vaccinate our learners at particular ages and our teachers,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said in previous interviews.
“Pwede na siguro ma-consider ‘yung lagi namin pino-propose na i-pilot ang (It may be considered, what we always propose which is to pilot) face-to-face by that time,” Briones added.
Senior High School graduates have options to continue college education, strengthen their skills, or start working or set up their own business.
These are made possible through the signing of Republic Act 10931 in 2017, or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act that allowed the enrollment of 1.6 million students enrolled in 219 state universities and colleges nationwide and the provision of student loans with 2.2 million beneficiaries under the Student Financial Assistance Program.
Meanwhile, about 9.8 million students have graduated from the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) — 93 percent of them certified from March 16 to Dec. 31, 2020.
As of June 14, 2021, over 1.2 million users are registered with the TESDA Online Program. (PNA)