P37 billion needed for teachers’ laptops, connectivity costs
MANILA, Philippines — Around P37 billion is still needed to provide all teachers in the country with laptops and ensure connectivity to aid in the distance learning system amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Tuesday.
During the House deliberations for the proposed 2022 budget of the DepEd, Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua lamented that while the department is addressing issues on distance learning, funds are insufficient.
“We have a direction, we have a framework. In fact, we know how much funds we need. For example, if we will be providing all teachers with the needed laptops considering the existence of laptops that we have now, we still need P33 billion to provide everybody with laptops,” Pascua told lawmakers.
“And then we need another P4 billion for data connectivity for next year for 12 months of connectivity… We have already made several programs, but always at the end of the day, it’s always the amount of funds needed for these programs will are obviously lacking at this time,” he added.
Pascua said that DepEd has previously distributed laptop units to some teachers. Other laptop units are still being procured or are being delivered, he added.
Pascua said that laptops purchased in 2019 (211,000 units), have been delivered to the teachers while another 36,676 units in 2020 are currently being delivered.
This year, Pascua said the laptop units to be distributed to the teachers, a total of 65,683 units, are still being procured. Aside from this, another 40,000 laptop units were procured under the Bayanihan 2.
“The provision of devices is just only one aspect of the entire program,” Pascua said.
“What is really a matter of importance is the connectivity of these devices and sad to say the connectivity of these devices, when it comes to mandates of government agencies, will fall under the Department of information and Communications Technology, because this is the laying down of infrastructure of data and internet connectivity throughout the country,” he added.
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