MANILA — Rep. Sherwin T. Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela City) has introduced a measure seeking to provide for the Magna Carta of the out-of-school youth to grant them access to education.
In filing House Bill No. 5896, Gatchalian said the youth are the foundation of a country’s future, stressing that the responsibility of every state is the education of its youth.
“It is therefore unfortunate that many of our children are denied the opportunity to pursue quality education, if not have an education at all,” Gatchalian said.
Citing a study conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority, Gatchalian said there were about 6.24 million out-of-school youth in 2010, mainly due to lack of personal interest to go to school, followed by a high cost of education and the desire to work.
He also quoted the study conducted by the World Bank entitled “Out-of-School Children and Youth in the Philippines: Issues and Opportunities,” which estimated that there are currently between 8 and 10 million out-of-school youth in the Philippines and that their number has trebled in the last 10 years.
The study said the largest number of out-of-school youth is concentrated in the National Capital Region, according to Gatchalian.
He said the highest rates of increase of out-of-youth populations and the highest dropout rates, particularly in elementary school, have been in the provinces of Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“This only shows that the problem of out-of-school youth is not limited to the National Capital Region but is now spreading across the other regions in the country,” Gatchalian said.
The bill mandates the State to provide mandatory technical or vocational education to out-of-school youth with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) regulating the course for a period of at least six months.
The State shall also make the Alternative Learning Mode of Education available to out-of-school youth in the barangays, the bill provides.
For those out-of-school youth who are in the custody of a home or institution managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the bill requires the latter to conduct the Alternative Learning System under its premises.
Under the measure, the cost of technical or vocational education shall be provided for by the government and shall be free of charge to the out-of-school youth.
The State shall also provide for all of the materials, instruments and tools that the out-of-school youth may need while enrolled in the technical or vocational education.
As defined under the bill, Alternative Learning System is a parallel learning system in the Philippines that provides a practical option to the existing formal instruction. It includes both the non-formal and informal sources of knowledge and skills.
Technical or vocational education, on the other hand, refers to training for a specific occupation in agriculture, trade, or industry through a combination of theoretical teaching and practical experience provided by many high schools in their commercial and technical divisions and by special institutions of collegiate standing.
Gatchalian said it is the duty of Congress to pass laws that will curb the number of out-of-school youth and protect their rights as provided for by the Constitution.