P20B budget boost for printing of DepEd’s self-learning modules sought
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is seeking a P20 billion increase to the budget of the Department of Education (DepEd) to aid in the printing of self-learning modules needed for the distance learning system being implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During the plenary deliberations on the proposed budget of DepEd, Bohol Rep. Edgar Chatto raised concerns over the sufficiency of funds allocated for printing self-learning modules for students enrolled under the new learning system in the country.
Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, who defended the proposed budget of DepEd, admitted that the allocated funds for the printing of the self-learning modules was “not enough.”
She said that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only approved P20 billion for the printing of the modules, only half of DepEd’s expected funding requirement for the self-learning modules.
“I’m glad that the good congressman from Bohol raised that concern. Because under the flexible learning option, one of the modalities is self-learning modules,” Limkaichong said.
“Tama kayo (You’re right), it’s not enough because the budget under the 2021 GAB (General Appropriations Bill) is only P20 billion. P15 billion under the regular [funds] and P5 billion under unprogrammed funds,” she added.
Chatto likewise raised concerns over how DepEd plans to generate the needed additional funding for the printing of the modules, which are through the Special Education Fund and the Brigada Eskwela.
The lawmaker said that while these programs could serve as supplementary source of funds, they cannot serve as primary sources.
“The Special Education Fund in local governments is not that much, it is only generated one percent from real property taxes and for small communities especially in rural areas, this is very, very small amount. Larger maybe in cities where the real property tax is higher,” Chatto said.
‘The other source that was mentioned during the committee hearing is from the Brigada Eskwela. I think everybody knows that Brigada Eskwela is only a mechanism of inviting people’s support, from the private sector, from NGOs, including parents to be able to contribute whether in monetary form or in labor to the development of the schools,” he added.
Chatto lamented that some teachers are even using their own resources and finances to print the self-learning modules.
It was here when Chatto underscored the need to raise the budget of the DepEd, specifically providing an additional P20 billion for the printing of the self-learning modules.
“I would like to bring back again to the plenary today our proposal to really look seriously at increasing the budgetary allocation. The proposal from the DepEd says P40 billion is being needed and both unprogrammed funds and regular allocation only totals P20 billion,” Chatto said.
“It is my proposal, and I thank our sponsor, because both of us are of the opinion that we should be filing a resolution to ask the appropriations committee of the House to allocate additional budget, maybe P20 billion to fund the full printing requirements of the self-learning modules and to implement the distance learning education of the Department of Education,” he added.
During the budget deliberations of DepEd’s budget in the committee level, DepEd admitted that some students will have to share their self-learning modules as a lack of funding for the production of the materials hound the agency.
Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said modules in some subjects would be used “on rotation basis,” but they would have to be disinfected before being passed on to the next set of learners.
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