DepEd to maximize use of Special Education Fund for distance learning
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) said Friday that it will maximize the use of its Special Education Fund (SEF) to aid schools for distance learning.
DepEd, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) have released Joint Circular No. 2, Series of 2020 to “widen the use of the Special Education Fund (SEF) to further assist schools this year.”
“We thank our DILG and DBM for embodying our whole-of-government approach and heeding our call to support education amidst the pandemic. This Joint Circular is a significant step in our efforts to ensure that learning opportunities will still be available despite the situation,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement.
With the release of the joint circular, Briones said the SEF can now shoulder the payments of expenses from the production of the self-learning modules, textbooks, activity sheets, and study guides or manuals approved and quality-assured by DepEd.
Purchase of external storage devices such as flash drives, hard drives, and communication expenses can also be subsidized by the said fund.
“Through the widened use of the Special Education Fund, our field offices, alongside our very supportive LGU officials, can be more flexible in assisting our teachers, learners, and even our parents in the distance learning set-up,” Briones said.
According to the DepEd chief, local government units or school division offices can also pursue the acquisition of personal computers, laptops, tablets, printers, scanners, television, and radio peripherals to assist their students if necessary through the special fund.
Aside from gadgets and tools, the procurement of personal protective equipment and medical needs such as face masks, thermal scanners, vaccines, vitamins, hand sanitizers, alcohol, and disinfectants can also be supported by the SEF.
Mental health and psychosocial services will also be more accessible for the teaching and non-teaching personnel as well as students, according to DepEd.
Webinars and “upskilling” activities will likewise be given to teachers, personnel, school leaders, parents, learning facilitators, and community education volunteers under the SEF provisions.
Before the issuance of the joint circular, the SEF was only designed to provide assistance in the operation and maintenance of public schools; construction and repair of school buildings, facilities, and equipment; educational development and research; and sports enhancement. Zac Sarao, trainee
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