05/15/2024, 14.31
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About 11 million children and youth without a formal education

by Santosh Digal

The situation is reported in a study by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which matters worse in the southern part of the country, especially in Bangsamoro. About 51.3 per cent are male, and 48.7 per cent are female. Through its educational establishments and institutes, the Church helps young people enter the labour force.

Manila (AsiaNews) – At least 11 million children and youth have not received any formal education in the Philippines, especially in the south, in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), this according to a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The Manila-based government agency provides a picture of the emergency that also impacts higher education, up to the university level.

Of the 42.8 million household population aged five to 24, the PSA said that 10.7 million or 25 per cent are out-of-school children and youth (OSCY). The data are based on the 2020 Census of Population and Housing.

Of the 10.7 million OSCYs, 51.3 per cent are males, and 48.7 per cent are females.

In terms of age, the 20-to-24 cohort is the largest group (68.5 per cent), followed by the 15-to-19 (15.6 per cent), the five-to-nine (12.3 per cent), and the 10-to-14 (3.7 per cent).

Currently, 32.07 million people aged five to 24 are enrolled in school, 51.4 per cent male and 48.6 per cent female.

With respect to school attendance, the Bicol Region is at the top with 78.8 per cent, while BARMM is at the bottom with 64.5 per cent.

In addition to the government, many groups in the private sector, civil society, and faith-based communities, including the Catholic Church with its thousands of entities across the country, encourage and help people to become literate.

Their goal is to help OSCYs complete their studies, particularly those in marginalised areas and from neglected and vulnerable families.

Amid great difficulties, the Church relies informally on the many organisations and institutes it operates and supports, helping OSCYs complete their studies, get a college education, and enter the labour market. With dignified employment, they can earn a living and contribute to society and the country.

Fr Benigno Beltran, a member of the Divine Word, is one of the people working tirelessly to help students and young dropouts continue their education.

To this end, he has set up an Alternative Learning System (ALS), centred on a community-based, non-formal approach outside the classroom, at community learning centres recognised by the Department of Education.

At his Sandiwaan Center for Learning in Smokey Mountain, Fr Beltran strives to help students and dropouts continue their studies.

(Photo: Asian Development Bank)

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