[by Haydee Alcantara]
Private schools in any country have tuition fees that are being paid by all enrolled students in these schools. Only public schools are funded by the government so education there is free and there is no tuition fee that needs to be paid. All countries have one of their main problems is the allocation of funds for education. No matter how rich a country is, it cannot afford to provide free education to its students.
Many families are “not prepared financially or technologically” for online schooling, according to Bishop Roberto Mallari of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, who chairs the Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education. Some people cannot afford the laptops or even smartphones required, as well as the cost of Wi-Fi subscriptions and the time it takes to learn how to utilize the technology in just two months. Some teachers, as reported in the press, are similarly unprepared, either because they do not have any or cannot afford the needed equipment, or because they are just as technologically challenged as their students. The issue of connectivity is also present. Despite the Department of Information and Communication Technology’s (DICT) promise to make Wi-Fi available across the country, connections are still too weak or non-existent not only in remote areas where students had to walk for kilometers and cross rivers to get to the nearest school during pre-pandemic times but also in some urban areas. Philippine society’s economic and social inequality has long been a key issue in the country’s educational system. Students from upper-class families who live in the cities and some highly urbanized municipalities have more significant exposure to typically private and expensive schools, whereas students from low-income families face a shortage of classrooms and teachers, as well as nearly inaccessible public schools with limited resources that teachers are frequently compelled to provide. It goes without saying that the amount of money a country spends on education influences the quality of school facilities and teachers, and thus the quality of its students. Many public schools still lack not only computers, but also books, desks, and blackboards, despite the digital age. There is also a shortage of public school teachers, owing to the fact that, despite their degrees and numerous obligations, they are among the lowest-paid government employees.
All these issues are happening due to the lack of our government’s budget for education. Our government must pay more attention and budget to education to increase the quality of education in the Philippines. When the quality of education in our country increases, we will have more quality graduates who are more likely to have adequate jobs in the future. They no longer have to go abroad to work and earn high salaries. Likewise, for our teachers, our government must provide the teaching materials they need to increase the quality of their teaching. It is really difficult to teach without equipment. Especially in this time of pandemic which is more on using technology and producing modules is the way of learning. Most Filipinos are hoping that the time will come for education to become a priority of the government. ###
[Photo: Asian Development Bank]
Farolan, R. PH education, lowest in Asean – Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:09 AM December 09, 2019. Retrieved from https://opinion.inquirer.net/125777/ph-education-lowest-in-asean
Challenges in Education in Southeast Asia. Retrieved from https://www.seameo.org/vl/library/DLWelcome/Publications/paper/india04.htm
Philippines Remains No.1 in Southeast Asia for Budget Transparency. Retrieved from https://www.dbm.gov.ph/index.php/secretary-s-corner/press-releases/list-of-press-releases/1652-philippines-remains-no-1-in-southeast-asia-for-budget-transparency