SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
14 September 2021 07:14:54 PM
With the education sector receiving the highest budgetary allocation for Fiscal Year 2022, the House Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday ended its review of the Department of Education's proposed budget for fiscal year 2022 after an almost eight-hour hearing. The scrutiny touched on the DepEd's plans and programs amid the challenges of distance learning and restrictions on face-to-face classes, among others. According to DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla, the DepEd's proposed budget of P630.8-billion is 6.01 percent higher than their current budget of P595.07-billion. DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said their proposed budget is anchored on learning continuity through better integration of digital formats to reduce dependence on printed formats. As of today, Briones said there are already 25,582,224 enrollees for School Year (SY) 2021-2022, and they are still expecting more enrollees to match the previous SY’s number of enrolled students. Moreover, she stated that they have aggressively promoted and strengthened the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Program to ensure learning continuity even for those students who are currently not enrolled. Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City) inquired about the agency's plans for possible partial face-to-face classes. Briones said they would implement partial face-to-face classes only if: 1) the Local Government Units (LGUs) allow these; 2) there is a written consent from the parents; 3) the school facilities conform with social distancing protocols, as well as the availability of supplies, such as water and medicines; and 4) the health compliance of those who also render services to the school. Meanwhile, the DepEd’s Computerization Program (DCP) will receive one of the highest portions in the DepEd's 2022 proposed budget. From last year’s allocation of P5.66 billion, the DCP will receive a 99.83 percent budget increase or P16.53 billion. Despite efforts to provide all teachers with the necessary laptops and mobile devices for teaching, the DepEd continues to face funding challenges for their Digital Rise Framework. Undersecretary Alain Pascua said they would still need an additional P33-billion to provide all teachers with laptops, and another P4-billion to provide for internet connectivity in the next 12 months. The hybrid meeting was presided over by Committee Vice-Chairperson Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong (1st District, Negros Oriental).