MANILA -- A youth group hit the government for pushing the 12-year basic education cycle while urging President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to channel more funds to improve the delivery of education services.

In a press briefing, the youth arm of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) questioned the wisdom behind the K-12 Enhanced Basic Education Program espoused by Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

“This is not the solution to the country’s current woes in basic education. We believe that instead of adding more years, the government should find ways to improve the condition of our congested schools, the lack of teachers and principals, among others,” Joanna Bernice Coronacion, APL youth national chairperson, told reporters.

Coronacion also scored the planned expansion of Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (Gastpe), which allows public elementary graduates to finish high school in private institutions.

“The Gastpe program is just a band-aid solution. The government should rather divert some funds allotted to debt servicing to social services like education,” she said.

Under the program, Metro Manila scholars are entitled to a tuition subsidy of P10,000 and P5,000 for those in other areas.

Latest DepEd data tallied 720,000 beneficiaries as the department mulled a P6 billion-budget for next year to reach the target of one million beneficiaries. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)