Legarda: Make better future for the Filipino YouthJune 18, 2021
“Ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating bayan.” These are powerful words imparted to us by our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal whose 160th birthday we are commemorating on June 19, which has also been declared as the Filipino Youth Day.
Three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda encouraged the Filipino youth to emulate Rizal’s passion for learning and desire to educate himself with skills and expertise which not only benefitted his growth as an individual but, most importantly, also contributed to nation-building.
“Rizal knew that in order to become a socially progressive country, we must be empowered through education. Our national hero never got tired of acquiring knowledge. He made use of all his learnings to extend a helping hand to the Filipino people, especially the less fortunate. His patriotism and unequivocal dedication to protect and preserve the Filipino heritage saved our Filipino identity,” Legarda said.
“The future of our country is founded on the vision, fervor and heroism of our youth. As builders of the nation and the future of the country, the youth play a vital part in our society. They are the leaders of tomorrow. Thus, we have to provide them the voice and the avenue to hone their knowledge and leadership skills in preparation for a much challenging future,” Legarda added.
Legarda, author of the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Act, Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, and Enhanced Basic Education Act was alarmed by the number of out-of-school youth, especially during the pandemic where traditional learning was disrupted due to the imposition of health and safety protocols and the implementation of community quarantines. The Department of Education (DepEd) reported that 1.1 million learners did not enroll for S.Y. 2020-2021 based on their data in January 2021, showing a difference of more than one million learners from the earlier report in November 2020 that 2.73 million learners reportedly did not enroll.
“The decline of unenrolled students is good news, but 1.1 million is still a big number. Education is essential. It is the right of every child to access education. We have to ensure that this remaining 1.1 million learners get to go back to school. We have to continuously monitor the present numbers of out-of-school youth and provide assistance to each of them,” Legarda said.
The former Senator also pointed out that the education sector is one of the sectors that received the brunt of this health and economic crises. COVID-19 has brought extraordinary challenges to the education sector and the teachers have to utilize flexible learning approaches to ensure the delivery of quality education. It is even more difficult for students, especially those in the marginalized communities where many households have no Internet access, no computer, or even a smart phone to cope with the changes in the learning modalities.
“More than a year after the pandemic started, we hear stories and news of children being depressed and stressed due to the current learning set-up. Online learning is not for everyone because majority of our public school students do not have the capacity and the resources. Another option for learning is through the distribution of modules which entails the active participation of parents to teach their children at home. This set-up is also a challenge for parents who have to balance the time to teach their children’s module and the need to look for income to feed the family,” Legarda lamented.
“As public servants, the greater challenge for us is to provide effective solution to the dire situation of the country’s education. To help our economy recover, the full potential of every Filipino must be realized. We have to invest in education to make sure that no Filipino youth is deprived of their right to go to school, learn and even earn a degree, and save their families from poverty. Let us give them opportunities to access quality education that will open better opportunities for growth and build better future for our youth,” Legarda concluded.