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Out-of-school kids

Youth Rising

WITHOUT doubt, education plays a “stellar role” in preparing the Philippines and the younger generation of Filipinos in the “highly-competitive” world of business and other fields.

But many sectors, notably school authorities, are “shocked” by the rising number of out-of-school youths (0SYs) in various parts of this impoverished Southeast Asian nation of English-speaking people.

Thus, if we really want to address the country’s worsening problem of unemployment, then let’s come up with measures and programs aimed at improving the quality of Philippine education.

And concerned government authorities, including members of the two-chamber Congress, ought to pay special attention to the plight of the millions of out-of-school Filipino youngsters across the country.

In fact, Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on youth, noted that the increase in the number of OSYs is a serious issue that could lead to bigger problems if left unchecked.

Department of Education (DepEd) data showed that close to four million students were not able to enroll for the current school year due to various reasons, including the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

To address the problem of out-of-school youngsters, Senator Angara is also pushing for the establishment of a “Magna Carta of OSYs” as proposed in his Senate Bill (SB) 1090.

The bill strengthens the state’s mandate of instituting policies and programs for the development of OSYs, encouraging them to seek out the various opportunities available to them.

Apart from SB 1090, similar bills seeking to establish a “Magna Carta of OSYs” are pending consideration in the Senate. They are authored by Sens. Win Gatchalian, Nancy Binay and Bong Revilla Jr.

In the view of many, members of Congress have no choice but to hasten the passage of SB 1090.

We understand that the sharp drop in enrollment for the current school year was due to restrictions on face-to-face education,” according to the workaholic and highly-articulate legislator.

However, he was quick to explain that “we hope to see (the enrollment) figures improve once our schools start to open up again.