Educational reforms will make 2013 a better year for PH – Angara

A lawmaker said the Philippines can sustain the momentum it gained in 2012 by advancing educational reforms that would help create more economic opportunities for the country.

“2012 was a good year for us but we can definitely make 2013 better. We must stay focused on the primary issues of the country which are education, the economy and job generation,” said Representative Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.

He added, “I believe our president has thrived in the fight against corruption. But this must be translated to an effective fight against poverty and for a better standard of living.”

For his part, the former law professor said he would continue pushing for measures that would revolutionize the system of education in the country.

“It has been my prevailing advocacy to provide the youth access to quality education,” said Angara, Chair of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education.

Last year, among his bills that were enacted into law was the Universal Kindergarten Education Act (RA 10157) which mandates free kindergarten education in all public schools to better prepare Filipino children for entry to the basic education system.

This year, Angara, who was previously named one of the most prolific and hardworking members of Congress, emphasized that he will continue pushing for more reforms to complement those already underway.

“Every Filipino citizen deserves quality education,” emphasized the veteran legislator. “But a key issue here is that a person’s education must be tailored to their needs, abilities and context. The approach must not be one-size-fits-all.”

He explained that the passage of the Early Years Act HB 6694) and the Special Education Act (HB 6547) will help broaden the scope of the country’s educational system and make it more inclusive.

The Early Years Act (EYA) aims to institutionalize and strengthen the National Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Program which covers children from zero (0) to four (4) years old, especially those in poor and disadvantaged communities.

The measure is already up for approval by a bicameral conference committee, having already been passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
On the other hand, the Special Education (SPED) Act mandates the creation of SPED centers throughout the country’s school divisions to ensure that both gifted children and children with special needs (CSN) are provided with developmentally appropriate education.

“We’ve already enshrined education as a right in our Constitution. Now it’s up to government to make sure that nobody gets left behind,” stressed Angara.

Another reform he said that would be pursued is the Bill of Rights for New Graduates (HB 5915) which provides new professionals support in finding jobs such as free NBI Clearance, TIN and Passport services, within a year of their graduation from college.

He also mentioned HB 395 which aims to attract smarter, more talented individuals into teaching by raising the minimum salary grade of public school teachers from SG 10 to SG 19.

“Whatever the year, the message remains the same education is the best tool for change. It gives the poorest of the poor the fighting chance to succeed and the ability to create opportunities for themselves,” the Aurora representative said.

“Amid the country’s surging economic growth, world class education that is universally accessible will make our people more productive, enabling them to contribute even more to the country’s development,” he concluded.

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