“It’s not just building schools”: VP Leni calls for government and private sector
partnership to solve education crisis
155,000 join nationwide hybrid town hall for Robredo
Presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo said that the government should view private educational institutions as partners at “The Education President: Interviews with Presidential Aspirants on Philippine Education” forum held at the University of Pangasinan on Friday, April 8.
“Dapat talaga tinitingnan ‘yung private sector as a partner para together, napa-plano nila kung paano nila malalatag na sinasagutan nila both yung access and ‘yung quality,” Robredo said, referring to the two major problems in the Philippine education system.
The young crowd, which included first time voters, asked Robredo, a former teacher herself, questions on various education issues such as teacher compensation and government support for working students and those in private schools. They also asked Robredo what her plans are to ensure schools could provide support for the mental health of students and teachers.
Robredo said that scholarships are not enough, and that the government must address other needs of students other than their tuition fees.
“Kahit may scholarships available, mahirap pa din sa ibang mga pamilya para masuportahan ‘yung mga estudyante because of all the other costs involved. So dapat ‘yung pamahalaan, naghahanap siya ng mga paraan para ‘yung mga extra costs involved ‘yun ‘yung tulong niya sa estudyante over and above the scholarships,” Robredo said.
In her speech, Robredo reiterated her call for a higher budget for education, better teachers’ compensation and welfare, increased subsidies for all students to reduce their cost of education, and a multisectoral body to oversee the current status of the Philippine education system.
Asked by a student what support her government could give underprivileged students who are enrolled in private schools, Robredo said “government should look at private schools as partners rather than competitors.”
She said students with preferred courses could be covered by a voucher system or scholarships that would cover not just their tuition fees, but also other costs.
Robredo also shared the Angat Buhay programs under the Office of the Vice President (OVP) which involved building dormitories, classrooms, and even providing multi-cabs for students.
But for Robredo, it will take more than these efforts to solve the current education crisis.
“It’s not just building schools, it’s not just building classrooms, it’s really finding out kung papaano mo matutulungan ‘yung estudyante na mapapagaan ‘yung kanyang dala-dala para makapag-aral siya,” Robredo said.
Robredo is the first presidential candidate to guest in the voter education series organized by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (COCOPEA.)
The series aims to bring all presidential candidates for the 2022 elections to its approximately 2,500 member schools to discuss pressing issues within the country's educational system.
An estimated 155,000 participated in the nationwide hybrid town hall, with 1,000 students, faculty and staff attending the onsite event, and the rest participating through Facebook Live and on-campus Zoom viewing sessions at schools around the country. [End]