Malacañang, in response to a UNESCO report saying that the country loses 0.18% of its GDP due to out-of-school children, said Saturday that the Department of Education already has extensive programs to address the issue.
“[W]e have a specific program that is targeting the out-of-school youths, and I know that those numbers have been going down and the DepEd has been using this,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing.
Valte added that the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is another key agency to educate out-of-school youth.
“The DepEd has been doing this in conjunction with private groups whose advocacies are also to encourage out-of-school youths to either go back to school or take up vocational skills training, which we have been successfully doing because of TESDA,” she said.
The government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, also known as the conditional cash transfer program, also gives beneficiaries cash incentives for keeping their children in school.
The UNESCO report named the Philippines as one of the ASEAN nations that must spend on keeping children in school, adding the cost of doing so is far lower than the potential loss of billions in GDP if the children do not get to go to school.
“Universal primary enrollment would reduce inequality in the region, which is high particularly in the three largest economies (Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand) we analyzed,” the UNESCO report stated.
It also said that educating the out-of-school youth in the Philippines can have a large economic impact, aside from direct productivity gains.
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, there were 1,223,909 out-of-school children and 532,896 out-of-school youths in the Philippines in 2013. — Andrei Medina/JDS, GMA News