Federalism feared to worsen education crisis
◢ Juan Gregorio Lina and Laurice Sy
A student group warns that shifting to Federalism will only aggravate the existing problems in the country’s education system.
Federalization will only reinforce the already colonial, commercialized and repressive system of education in the country, said National Union of Students in the Philippines spokesperson Mark Vincent Lim, citing several provisions in the proposal which allow foreign entities to own, control and administer educational institutions in the country.
“All educational institutions shall be under the supervision of and subject to regulation by the State [which] shall establish and maintain a complete, adequate and integrated system of education relevant to the goals of national development,” Section 12 Article XIV of the latest draft of the proposal states.
Proponents of Federalism stress that authority over education will be shared between the regional and Federal government.
“The Federal government will retain a Department of Education which will continue to enforce national standards in schools but the key difference is that regional governments will have greater legroom to tailor their schools’ curriculum to accommodate cultural diversity,” said Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson of the Partidong Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Federalism Institute.
Opposition to Federalism is mainly due to misinformation giving rise to misconceptions, according to Malaya. “[The opposition] rely on the Internet and think what they read there is what our brand of Federalism is going to be. There is no ‘one size fits all’ model of Federalism — we will make sure the shift will address concerns from all sectors,” he said.
In addition to free basic education, free tuition in State Universities and colleges (SUCs) will also be maintained in the transition as it is already law, Malaya added.
However, Section 12 Article XIV enables the government to maintain free education for public elementary and high school alone. Private education institutions may take advantage of this by charging exorbitant tuition and school fees while transnational or multinational companies might use the shift to secure graduates as workers in their ranks, Lim said.
Meanwhile, decentralizing education supervision to the state level will mean serious oversight in a Federal government, a change feared to prove adverse to education, according to professor Romeo B. Ocampo, former Dean of the UP National College of Public Administration.
“Education is a vital public policy and social policy which has a nationwide dimension to it. May ibang goals siya which may have to do, for example, with enhancing cultural diversity while somehow integrating cultural facets from different regions,” he said, relaying findings in his paper “Against Federalism: Why It Will Fail and Bring Us to the Brink” which details the negative effects of and the underlying motivations for Federalization.
A central department in charge of coordinating education policy is necessary to ensure that national standards are maintained in schools nationwide and that the implementation of the K-12 program remains smooth, Ocampo added.
The move to Federalize gained newfound momentum with the election of PDP-Laban President Rodrigo Duterte who campaigned heavily on its promise. The lower house began discussing the latest draft of the bill on August 10, citing a need for revision to guarantee that the charter will sufficiently address the needs of the people. The final draft of the bill is expected to be submitted this November. ◢
Short URL: http://www.philippinecollegian.org/?p=12239