The role of the private sector in education has always been apparent in the Philippines, particularly due to the dominance of private tertiary institutions that were established before state institutions arrived to provide more affordable options. As a result of this history, past and present governments have been able to consistently work together with private sector entities, both domestic and foreign, to the benefit of the sector. It is important to note that this extends far beyond educational institutions, but as a more general participation of a variety of players from different industries. Such participation has been aided by encouraging and enabling legislation set out by the Department of Education (DepEd), such as the Adopta-School Act and the Republic Act 8525 of 1988, which provided a way for the private sector to participate in nation-building via the education of Filipinos.
EDUCATIONAL ADOPTION: For 2014, the DepEd recently confirmed that it has received more than P5.5bn ($124m) in donations from the private sector towards the Adopt-a-School programme. The programme links the DepEd with players and organisations that are able to assist in the provision of basic education resources, such as classrooms, teaching materials and equipment. Currently, more than 130 private companies are participating by supporting specific DepEd initiatives and programmes such as nationwide feeding programmes, teacher training and integration of integration technology.
Aside from the existing Adopt-a-School programme, the DepEd has also been championing and inviting private sector support of the Abot Alam programme. This programme focuses specifically on “location-outof-school youth” (OSY) between the ages of 15 and 30, with the aim of successfully finding them educational, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities. Since the beginning of the programme, the DepEd has mapped over 1.2m OSY. Of this number, 76,000 have been enrolled in the Alternative Learning System programme, Alternative Delivery Mode, completed skills training or have been employed. The challenge is pressing across all youth age groups, with recent government figures revealing that 5.59m children between the ages of five and 17 years old were working and not in full-time education in 2014.
FACING TYPHOON HAIYAN: Though the private sector support of the domestic education sector has been longstanding, Typhoon Haiyan also illustrated the willingness of companies and businesses from all over the country to aid recovery. In early 2015 DepEd’s Typhoon Haiyan interventions were in the fourth and final phase of its Framework for Recovery and Rehabilitation. In keeping with the government’s effort to recover, DepEd continues to deliver basic education to five typhoon-affected regions: IV-B, VI, VII, VIII and Caraga. This includes the rehabilitation of more than 17,000 damaged classrooms, construction of new classrooms and distribution of school furniture. As of November 2014, more than half of the targeted classrooms had been completed or were in the process of being reconstructed. Classroom construction in typhoon-affected areas is expected to be complete by June 2015. DepEd has said that private firms will fund the reconstruction and repair of at least 3467 classrooms, about 20% of the total needed.
One multinational company that has been leading the way in terms of both its response to Typhoon Haiyan and participation in beneficial social programmes is Coca-Cola. Through its non-profit CocaCola foundation, set up in 1987, it has assisted many hundreds of thousands of Filipinos with programmes for education, clean water, economic opportunity, youth empowerment and disaster relief projects.
One particularly successful example has been its Agos Project, which installed clean water systems in 60 communities and has been serving over 47,000 Filipinos since the programme’s launch in 2011. The ongoing efforts of the company were recognised in December 2014, when it received an Award for Corporate Excellence from the US Department of State.
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