Jet Bellen | Staff Writer
In the 2016 Education Summit, the Senate Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture shared several bills that are aligned with the education sector’s vision and goals, to show its willingness in supporting the plans for reforms in the country’s educational system.
Speaking at the opening program of the 2016 Education Summit held last Thursday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, chairperson of the said committee, emphasized that the challenge for the government is not just in approving the P650 billion proposed budget for the education sector, but to make sure that its execution through proper government spending can be felt by Filipinos nationwide.
Aquino, in behalf of the committee, also discussed the bills that they are pushing for passage next year, such as the Senate Bill Number (SBN) 1050 or the Free Internet in Public Schools Act, which also includes the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) plan for a nationwide internet access.
PARTNERS FOR EDUCATION | Senator Bam Aquino, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture, urges stakeholders from the private sector and the government to push for reforms in the educational system of the Philippines. (Photo from Senator Aquino’s Twitter account)
Other bills were also elaborated, such as SBN 172 or the Abot Alam Act, which will institutionalize the Alternative Learning System (ALS) for out-of-school youths; SBN 170 or the Trabaho Centers in Schools Act, which aims to organize effective employee placement offices in high schools to link graduates to relevant industry opportunities; and SBN 177 or Free Higher Education for All Act, that will provide equal access to higher education for underprivileged Filipino students.
“In the Senate, we are trying our best to push for these reforms,” he said. “We will work hand in hand with the different stakeholders here to make sure that these reforms are done.”
Before the end of his speech, Aquino reminded the audience about the National Achievement Test (NAT) scores of schools in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar, where students at that time, 12 years ago, had higher scores than those in Quezon City. This happened, despite of differences in quality of equipment and in the number of classrooms between the two locales.
The story was used as an example and an invitation for all government and private sectors and agencies concerned to promote a better system of education in the country.
“In Lope de Vega, the principal and school heads were able to convene with the different stakeholders to really work together and focus on the quality of education,” Aquino added. “This is a time where we can all come together to really take our educational system to the next level.”