Free education to get big boost

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The passage of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act last year was considered a victory for Philippine education, as it gave new hope to poor students who want to have access to quality education without worrying about their financial status.

It was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte despite some apprehensions and concerns on where the funding for this free education act will come from as it guaranteed free tuition and other miscellaneous fees for students in 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) across the country.

To recall, the initial funding allotted for the measure was pegged at P16 billion, which was deemed “manageable” to cover tuition and miscellaneous fees and subsidies to students in SUCs, local tertiary schools, as well as institutions accredited with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The passage of the law was part of the President’s social development agenda and was hailed by various groups — especially the youth — who said that it was a “victory for the present and future generations of Filipino students.”

And recently, it received a big boost from the Senate as it decided to realign the proposed P3 billion budget allotted for the “Tulong-Dunong” program next year to the free tuition program, which is under the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

After a long debate, the senators agreed to just transfer the P3 billion fund for Tulong-Dunong program to CHEd’s free tuition program.

The move fits perfectly to Goal 4 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDG) of which the Daily Tribune is a media partner — as it targets to substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries.

The UN-SDG is promoting 17 goals — otherwise known as Global Goals — which is a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. It builds on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities.

Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to creating sustainable development and improving quality of life. Access to inclusive education can help equip locals with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems.

For quality education to be provided to the children of impoverished families, investment is needed in educational scholarships, teacher training workshops, school building and improvement of water and electricity access to schools.

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