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‘Basic education students to hit 28 M by 2022’

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Education (DepEd) is expecting the number of basic education students in the country to balloon to over 28 million by 2022.

Speaking at a tax reform forum, Education Secretary Leonor Briones stressed the need to funnel more funds to the education sector as the number of students is expected to grow in the next five years.

“For the just concluded school year 2016-2017, there were 24.9 million learners from kindergarten to senior high school. Of this, 21.5 million was accounted for by the public school system through its 53,043 schools all over the country,” Briones said.

“The total number of learners is expected to grow to about 28 million by 2022. Outside of the learners that we cater to through formal basic education, the present administration is determined to reach out to the out of school youth and to adults who have not finished basic education,” she added.

Briones said the large population of students is the primary cost driver for the education sector that the government has to address.

With this, she expressed support for the Duterte administration’s tax reform package that aims to increase government tax collection while at the same time adjust income taxes for the middle class.

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Briones said other cost drivers include the need to upgrade the quality of education by providing adequate facilities in public schools.

“The improvement in the capability of our teachers through in-service training and professional development also requires increasing budget allocation,” she added.

She also noted the increasing costs of rehabilitation and construction due to calamities caused by climate change as well as the need for at least P2.3 billion to repair schools affected by the ongoing clashes in Marawi City.

“On the revenue side, the government will meet the additional expenditure requirements not by simply identifying new taxes, but by taking the opportunity to institute a comprehensive reform that will address revenue, equity, efficiency and over-complexity of the tax system at the same time,” Briones said.

“On the expenditure side, the package has put not just infrastructure but also people at the center of the package, committing to finance the investment requirements of education over the medium term,” she added.

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