Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Public schools’ problems

GOVERNMENT statistics show that the country’s public school system is confronted with a shortage of at least 12,000 classrooms, four million seats, 63 million textbooks, 39,000 teachers, and 8,000 principals.

What is alarming is that millions of public school children are afflicted with preventable and treatable but potentially fatal diseases. Worse, many of the, are malnourished and deficient in iron, iodine, and Vitamin A.

Certainly, nobody will argue with Sen. Richard Gordon when he said that the Department of Education’s current program to address malnutrition at the grade school level can be strengthened, lengthened, and made available to more students if additional funds are allocated for the purpose.

“Our pupils need not only quality education but also health and nutrition programs to ensure that they will perform well in school because they are properly nourished and physically fir,” said Gordon, one of the youngest members of the 1971 Constitutional Convention.

Even Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, a former congressman, admitted that about 16 percent of students in public schools are malnourished. Such condition, he said, leads to absenteeism, which is a major deterrent to the pupils’ consistent performance.

The various problems confronting the country’s public schools may be hard to solve since concerned government agencies, notably the Education department, lack not only manpower but also money.

Thus, we urge Congress to hasten the passage of Gordon’s bill which calls for using a percentage of the profit of telecommunications companies to address the problems of public schools across the country.

Authored by Gordon, chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, Senate Bill 2402 is a meaningful piece of legislation which seeks to establish a Health and Education Acceleration Program Corp.

Under the proposed measure, HEAP will manage funds that would be remitted by telecoms firms from a small portion of their net revenues from local text messages which total billion a day.

Indeed, billions of pesos of taxes paid by telecoms firms will have to be spent if we are to fill the gap in the country’s health care and educational requirements.

Let these firms foot the bill!


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