Golden age of public education


THE trillion-peso Build Build Build is ushering the country to its golden age of infrastructure. But amidst the construction frenzy, Filipinos are also experiencing the golden age of public education with the passage of the Free Tertiary Education Act last year.

Free education in state colleges and universities complements the law on free secondary education in public high schools enacted in 1987. Together, these laws already allow more children to get a complete education at minimal cost to help them get good-paying jobs later.

But Congress and the government are not stopping at free education and they continue to make schooling truly inclusive considering the sheer number of children or youth who still lack access or opportunity to get proper education.

If out-of-school youths, person with disabilities and children from indigenous communities or far-flung villages still face challenge in getting to school, a bill on Alternative Learning System seeks the establishment of ALS learning center in every town across the country, though local schools already offer ALS classes.

The Department of Education is making its also-free ALS better by making it available all the time. Previously, ALS enrollment is quarterly and missing the cutoff means delaying schooling until the next enrollment and class period. Now, DepEd is allowing continuous ALS enrollment year-round. Even persons with disabilities and senior citizens who want to finish high school can do so through flexible class schedules and non-traditional teaching methods.

With the greater opportunity to get education today than in the past decades, and more youth resuming their interrupted schooling, education for all is being achieved.

p: wjg