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Quality education a human right — CHR

MANILA, Philippines - Quality and accessible education is a fundamental human right that should be provided to all Filipinos, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said yesterday as classes opened across the country. 

In a statement, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said the commission supports the efforts of the Department of Education (DepEd) to improve the quality of education in the country. 

“Quality and accessible education is a fundamental human right, which contributes to personal and societal development by fostering freedom and empowerment of the individual,” she said. 

“It is also considered by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Office) to be essential for the exercise of all other human rights,” she added. 

The CHR also welcomed the pronouncement of DepEd that it will hire 50,000 new teaching and non-teaching personnel in time for the opening of classes. 

De Guia also lauded efforts to construct new classrooms, particularly for the additional two years added under the K-12 basic education reform program. 

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“The creation of jobs further respects the economic right to work enshrined in both the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” she said.

“The commission salutes the efforts exerted by the Department of Education in this direction and looks forward to their promised report on the state of their readiness for the opening of classes in the first week of June,” she added.

Scholarships in SUCs, LUCs

Meanwhile, senators said yesterday qualified college students in private schools can also benefit from the bill passed by Congress granting free education in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs).

Sens. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Sherwin Gatchalian, authors of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act ratified by Congress last week, said the budget for the bill will include scholarships, loans and grants that may be availed of by qualified students enrolled or wishing to enroll in private colleges and universities.

“So for example, if you come from a poor family and are studying in private schools, you can access the support fund so you can continue your studies,” Gatchalian said.

He also said not all provinces or cities in the country have state-run tertiary education institutions, so the fund can improve access to college education in such areas.

Other authors of the measure are Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Sens. Sonny Angara, Leila de Lima, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Richard Gordon, Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

The measure will require anywhere from P50 billion to P60 billion, of which more than half will be to subsidize SUCs, LUCs and technical-vocational schools, while the remainder will be for the tertiary education support fund for private schools.

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