As the Philippine celebration of United Nation’s International Youth day opens today, the APL Youth questioned the wisdom behind the government’s education reforms and at the same time lambasted the increasing precariousness of jobs that are available to the youth.
“The crisis in the education system will not be solved by expanding the basic education cycle from 10 years to 12 years nor by venturing into various forms of privatization,” Joanna Bernice Coronacion, National Coordinator of APL Youth, declared. “On the contrary these policies could even worsen the problem,” she added.
The APL Youth believes that expanding basic education to 12 years at this time is unwise. “The plan would entail additional financial burden for working families that are already hard pressed to keep their children in school,” Coronacion said. “It could even be a cruel joke. Even if we expand basic education, work that are made available for us after we graduate would be a series of 3 to 5 month contratual job,” she lamented.
The APL Youth declared that contractualization kills the chance of young workers’ to live a decent life.
The APL Youth asserted that rather than tinker with the length of basic education, government should first address the severe classroom shortage, the low income of teaching and non-teaching personnel, the sub-standard textbooks, and many other issues that lead to low quality of education.
“Public-Private partnerships or even the strengthening of the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education or GASTPE would not solve these problems,” Coronacion said. “Such policies could even worsen the problem by turning public services into expensive commodities, and thereby out of reach of the poor,” she added.
According to the APL Youth, public-private partnerships and the GASTPE are various forms of partial privatization.
“What we need is massive public investment in basic education,” Coronacion said. “This can be done by channeling debt servicing to basic education and other public services,” she added.
The UN International Youth Day opens today in the PICC with the theme, “Strengthening Peace and Human Rights Education for the Youth: Key to Sustainable Development”. The APL Youth contended that the forum would be grossly inadequate unless it tackles the misguided government solutions to the education crisis and the scourge of precarious work such as the growing pervasiveness of contractualization.
APL Youth is the youth arm of the Alliance of Progressive Labor, a national labor center of various workers’ organizations in the private, informal and migrant sectors. APL-Youth, composed of community-, school- and workplace-based teens and young adults ages 15-35, aims to unite and empower the youth sector and to link them with the labor movement and the broader social movements.