by CONGRESSMAN TEDDY CASIÑO
The added years of high school under the government’s K+12 program would mean an additional burden to parents of P9,816 per student per year, or a total of P58,897 in additional education expenses for average Filipino families with three children, a figure too costly for them to bear.
I’m basing this estimate on the annual Family Income and Expenditure Statistics (FIES) which show that typical Filipino families with three children spend an average of P7,548.50 per year on education fees alone. Add to this is the incidental cost of education (to include daily transportation, food and clothing) which I estimate at P7,300 per student per year, then a typical Filipino family with three children would have to spend an additional P29,448.50 per added year of high school for their kids.
At two years under the K+12 program, this would add up to P58,897 in additional expenses.
For poor families earning less than P100,000 per year, comprising 35% of total families, the cost would be a little lower at P22,788.56 per year for three children. This would take up as much as 33.94% of total annual family expenditures.
For extremely poor families, the cost would be P22,064.86 per year for three children, comprising a whopping 66.92% of total family expenditures.
While DepEd officials insist that tuition is free in public schools, families still have to spend for transportation, food, school uniforms, projects and other incidentals. Kasama ng mga school fees hindi na biro ‘yan. That’s a fortune for most families.
Today’s average annual family expenditure is around P175,000. Thus the additional expense of almost P60,000 for two more years of high school would mean that a considerable chunk of their income allotted for basic necessities like food, shelter and clothing would have to be diverted to education.
We might have a world-standard curriculum but if families can’t afford to send their children to school, what’s the point?
The higher cost of sending children to school would most likely result in more dropouts espcially among the poor and extremely poor families. We are, in effect, marginalizing the already marginalized sectors of our society. Lalo lang nito pinapahirapan ang mga mahihirap na gustong makatapos sa pag-aaral.
If government insists on K+12, it should be ready to subsidize the additional cost to poor families, otherwise we will be seeing more dropouts. But the way I see it, it seems the government is not ready to allocate even the international standard of 6% GDP for education.
Dapat talagang tantanan na muna ng Malacanang ang mga magulang dahil napakalaking dagdag gastusin ito sa mga pamilya lalo pa ngayon na ang taas ng presyo ng mga bilihin at serbisyo at napakababa pa ng sahod. Dapat ay mas tutukan ng pamahalaan kung paano gumawa ng mas maraming classrooms at mga teacher pero dahil sa K+12 e mas lalong lumaki ang mga kakulangang ito.