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Consolidating Consensus, Advancing People’s Struggles and Building Alternatives
FDC defines social debt as “the State’s unfulfilled obligations to its citizens, which can be approximated from the State’s commitments in its Constitution and its laws, the socio-economic targets set by all previous development programs and plans, and the international standards set by the United Nations and other international covenants.”
To measure the social debt to education, FDC uses the UNESCO recommendation of at least 6% of GNP public spending on education which government expenditure cannot sink without serious consequences for fulfilling, protecting and realizing the human right to education and the universally shared aspiration of quality education for all.
In addition, FDC includes all the unfulfilled commitments the Philippine Government made to education in its series of Medium Term Philippine Development Plans since 1986, other national policies and the promise of the 1987 constitution of universal secondary education for all Filipinos.
FDC research reveals the telling impact of a consistently low level of public spending on education. Since 1996, when Delors Commission submitted its recommendations to UNESCO pegging its benchmark for public expenditure to education at 6% of GNP, the Philippine government’s “Education Debt” to all Filipino youth, students and teachers accumulated to roughly around P3.763 trillion.
However, FDC notes that social debt of education is more than just a number, and more than just the textbook, or classroom, or teacher shortages. The social debt to education could be more effectively represented by the 12.3 Million out-of-school youth (NSO, 2008), the 4 Million working children (NS0, 2008), the 6.29% and 7.79% drop out in primary and secondary levels (DepEd, AY 10-11), the 8 out of 10 high school graduates who are unable to go to college (CHED, 2011), and the grossly disappointing and embarrassing 68.15% and 47.93% Mean Percentage Scored (MPS) of National Achievement Test (NAT) takers in primary and secondary levels (DepEd, AY 10-11), and the even more deplorable 34% average professional licensure exams passing rate across disciplines (CHED, 2010), including the 2.894 Million unemployed Filipinos (NSCB, 2012) and the around 9 Million Filipino forced to leave PH and work abroad (POEA, 2012). These are some of the many faces of social debt to education.
FDC challenges the government to honor and pay up this debt, and honor its constitutional mandate to ensure access to quality education at all levels.