MANILA—A House of Representatives’ panel has approved a measure seeking to establish integrated public schools to ensure access of elementary graduates to quality public high school education.
According to a statement on Tuesday, the House Committee on Basic Education chaired by Cebu Rep. Ramon Durano IV, approved the substitute bill entitled “An Act Ensuring Access To Free Secondary Education By Converting The Public Elementary Schools Into Integrated Schools”.
Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, the bill’s author, said a public elementary school shall be converted into an integrated school that will offer complete basic education, including high school.
Santos-Recto noted that the creation of integrated schools will allow elementary graduates, especially from rural communities, to continue their education at lesser cost, and will result in more savings for the government as facilities of existing elementary schools may be utilized for use of incoming high school students.
“There has been an alarming increase of elementary graduates who are unable to pursue secondary education because of the limited number of high schools and school facilities accessible within their communities,” Santos-Recto said.
Data from the Department of Education revealed that there are only 8,159 public secondary schools as compared to 38,688 public elementary schools.
Santos-Recto said many children in the rural areas are not enrolled in high school due to the shortage of public high schools particularly in rural areas.
“Despite basic education being free, students still need to bear the costs for school materials and transportation, among others,” she said.
The lady lawmaker cited the need for the government to address the gross shortage of public secondary schools to reduce the number of out-of-school youths in the country.
“Establishing more secondary schools will open opportunities for students to access complete basic education at a lower cost and meet the growing educational needs of the youth,” Santos-Recto said.
Santos-Recto cited the 2011 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey which showed that the top reasons of students for not attending school is the high cost of education, far location of schools, lack of schools in the barangay, and lack of transportation.