News Release

Improving education top priority of PBBM gov’t

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. reiterated on Wednesday the administration’s steadfast support to Filipinos’ access to quality tertiary education.

In his speech during the National Higher Education Day Summit (NHEDS), President Marcos acknowledged the much-needed efforts to further enhance the country’s tertiary education system.

“That is why improving higher education—and making it responsive to the present and future needs of society— is front and center of this administration’s national development agenda,” President Marcos said.

President Marcos said the success of many government’s plans for the country depends heavily on the availability of a strong, resilient, and skilled human resource to drive the nation forward.

The President shared his four fundamental beliefs on improving tertiary education in the Philippines.

First, President Marcos said promoting quality higher education is a collaborative effort of both the public and private sectors.

“When it comes to educating our youth, government and private schools are not competitors but must be regarded as equal partners,” the President said.

“As such, government should ensure their viability, [and] treat them as strategic assets whose existence is guaranteed by nurturing policies and support,” he added.

Second, the President said “education delivers the best dividends” of all state expenditures, prompting the administration to continue the provision of free tertiary education in public universities and colleges.

The President noted that the government has allocated almost PhP134 billion for state and local universities and colleges this year to allow more students to avail of free tertiary education.

President Marcos said it will also equate to more families being eased of the burden of having to pay for college.

“We know that whatever is spent on education, we should never regard as an expenditure. It is an investment. It is an investment in our people. It is an investment in our country. It is an investment in our future,” he added.

For the third fundamental belief, President Marcos said “mandates must be attached to merits,” which means democratizing access to education should not lead to the lowering of academic standards.

“Scholastic yardsticks are not movable goalposts which we change every year to improve our numbers. These must be regarded as firm benchmarks that are resistant to pressures that seek to undercut the quality of that education,” he stated.

Lastly, President Marcos stressed that there are ways of solving educational problems more than what money can offer.

“We could not say that appropriations will always solve a problem. Cash is not always a cure. Even funding does not automatically guarantee that we will get our desired outcome,” President Marcos said.

The President believes that a solution to educational problem, if intrinsically bad, does not become effective simply because it has been funded.

During the NHED, President Marcos also recognized the outstanding performance of the Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) that were included in various world university rankings.

At least 81 Philippine HEIs have been included in various world university rankings, which is higher than the 52 HEIs included in the same ranking in July 2023.

No Philippine university made it to the top 100 universities in the recent Times Higher Education 2024 Asia University Rankings where the country’s top schools either dropped or retained their spot.

President Marcos said the survey only showed that much work needs to be done.

“We must pursue a comprehensive and all-encompassing strategy that will turn this trend around,” he said.

The chief executive was the guest of honor and speaker during the NHEDS 2024 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Before concluding his speech, President Marcos said he hopes the NHED will yield answers and solutions to the challenges and opportunities the country is facing in the higher education sector. PND