MANILA, Philippines ? Senator Francis Escudero expressed alarm on Thursday over the increasing dropout rates in primary and secondary education levels. We should be able to graduate more students in both levels, if not achieve universal primary education by 2015, as targeted in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals,? said Escudero. Speaking at a forum on education at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati, Escudero urged the government to work sharply to reduce, if not eliminate, dropout rates in public elementary and high schools in six years.
He cited a UN report in 2000, which showed that in nearly five decades since the 1960s, dropout rates at the public elementary level had remained high, with 28 to 34 percent failing to complete Grade 6.Citing the latest data from a separate study he did not identify, Escudero estimated that of the 100 children who entered Grade 1, only 86 moved on to Grade 2, 76 to Grade 4, 67 to Grade 6, and only 65 finally completed the six years of elementary education.Of the 65, only 58 enroll in high school and 45 are able to graduate, Escudero added.
He said while the Department of Education (DepEd) had the biggest share of the national budget at P158.2 billion for 2009, it still did not meet the budgetary standard set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), which is 6 percent of a country?s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).Education is the greatest equalizer. Most of the children who are left behind live in poverty and in remote areas. The next administration must aggressively move to narrow the education gap and increase education? share of the national budget to 20 percent,? said Escudero.