THE SENATE Finance Committee has more than tripled the budget to conduct a survey aimed at gathering information on the literacy and educational skills of Filipinos. Under the proposed budget for next year, P208.97 million has been earmarked for the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to implement the Functional Literacy, Education, and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS). The amount is 254% bigger than the P58.9 million allocated for the purpose by the House of Representatives.
“This will help the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II) to identify areas where we have high illiteracy rates, so we can launch programs that will improve education outcomes in those places,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said in a statement.
The EDCOM II, which is composed of members from the House and Senate, is tasked to assess and set targets to improve the country’s education sector.
Mr. Gatchalian also proposed to conduct the survey more regularly, which was last done in 2019.
The World Literacy Foundation reported that illiteracy costs a country’s economy P258 billion every year.
At least nine of out 10 Filipino children aged 10 struggle with reading and writing simple text, according to 2021 data from the World Bank.
The Education department has a proposed P718.08-billion budget under the Senate’s version of the 2024 General Appropriations bill.
The Senate is expected to approve its version of the budget this week. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz