THE THIRD SIDE OF A COIN

Tossing a coin is a move where all possibilities are all at stake. It would always flip into one of the two sides – two choices to be considered. But how about if the coin itself tossed neither into head nor a tail?

This consequence is at stake.

FROM SKETCH TO A MASTERPIECE: President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 10931 last Thursday night which guarantees free tuition and other miscellaneous fees for the students in 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) for the SY 2018-2019.

This is the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education. However, when there’s a beauty, there’s a hag. Beyond the good news of the free access to college, there must be a consideration on “education of all fronts.”

The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) opposed that the law only considers the tuition in the cost of higher education, and it will only  benefit higher income students who are more academically prepared than students from poor families.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) estimated that it should be ₱ 100 billion, but only ₱ 16 billion was allocated for the implementation. So, there’s an expected “scarcity of funds,” to the “high demands” of students.

Nevertheless, Presidential Commission for Urban Poor Chairperson Terry Ridon stressed that “this is a culmination of decades of struggle of the student and youth movement in the Philippines.”

It is true … that the free education will strengthen the Filipino youth movement, whereas the opportunity was denied to several learners before. But the law itself must internalize its name “Quality Tertiary Education.”

Taking in from world-class country that offers a high developing education – Japan. Japan allocated most of its budget to education and enforced it effectively. There’s a 1:1 ratio of textbook to student. While 1:7 is the ratio of a book to a Filipino student And to achieve the desired ratio, ₱ 92.8 million textbooks are needed to be procured by the government. If the Philippine budget will also be enforced effectively, then there will be a global competitive Filipino learners.

Taking in from one of the most powerful organization worldwide – United Nations. In its standard 6% of the national budget should be reserved for education. But in the Philippines the 6% of ₱ 3 767 billion budget is ₱ 226.02 billion – really for from the allocated ₱ 16 billion.

This government move is like tossing a coin –  youth is at stake. So better to seek on all sides rather than into two: before scarcity takes over.

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