The Department of Education (DepEd) and the provincial government of Bohol are jointly spending P25.4 million for the construction of new public school classrooms in the province.
Under an agreement signed by Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto, the partnership, which calls for a 50-50 sharing of costs, will start with the building of 62 classrooms.
It is estimated that the central Philippine province needs at least 600 additional classrooms.
The partnership raised to P1.18 billion the total cofunding pledges from local governments this year. The amount is enough to pay for some 1,300 new classrooms in DepEd’s partner localities.
The 50-50 funding scheme with local governments is part of DepEd’s efforts to address the nationwide classroom shortage of more than 60,000.
The agreement between DepEd and the Bohol provincial government said, through the Counter-Parting Program, the participating local government would share with the national government the cost of building new classrooms in areas with acute shortages.
Bohol was the 10th province to join the cofunding program. Earlier, the provincial governments of Camarines Sur, Ilocos Norte and Occidental Mindoro, among others, signed up for the DepEd initiative. Several city governments are also partnering with DepEd for the construction of more classrooms in their areas.
The cofunding program augments DepEd’s school construction budget this year of P11.3 billion, enough to build 11,000 classrooms. DepEd is seeking P12.4 billion in 2012 to eliminate completely the shortages.
The department has also tapped the private sector in its efforts to provide enough classrooms for the country’s public schools. With its partnerships with the Philippine Business for Social Progress, League of Corporate Foundations and Philippine Business for Education, DepEd expects to build 10,000 classrooms in two years.