Proposed education budget still insufficient despite increase — Rep. Castro
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed allocation for the education sector in 2024, while higher than the current 2023 national budget, is still insufficient to support several needs like more classrooms, higher salaries for teachers, and more manpower, according to a lawmaker.
Makabayan bloc member and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said that as the country is projected to have a gross domestic product (GDP) of P25.40 trillion, the budget for education should at least be P1.525 trillion if the government would observe United Nations (UN) standards.
According to the UN, a country must spend at least four percent to six percent of its GDP and 15 percent to 20 percent of the total allocation to education. If the GDP is between P23 trillion to P25 trillion, four percent translates to P920 billion, while six percent is P1.380 trillion.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) placed P924.7 billion of the P5.768 trillion National Expenditures Program in the education sector.
“With the projected GDP of P25.409 trillion in 2024, the government should spend about P1.525 trillion on education. However, the proposed 2024 budget for Education is only P924.7 billion, a very minimal increase from last year’s P895.2 billion. Such scant funding cannot fill in the many shortages in education, which is integral in education recovery,” Castro said.
“We must seize this opportunity to prioritize education and secure a brighter future for our children. I urge my fellow lawmakers to stand with me in advocating for a substantial increase in the education budget, at least 6% of our GDP as per UN standards so that we can truly bridge the learning gap and provide quality education for all Filipino students,” she added.
According to Castro, the government cannot deny that the country needs to improve the state of education, noting that the learning gaps can be addressed by infrastructure initiatives and hiring more teachers to reduce the division of tasks among instructors.
“We cannot deny the reality that our education system is in dire need of improvement. To adequately address the learning gap and provide quality education for all, we must prioritize investing in education infrastructure,” she said.
“Building more classrooms and hiring more teachers are crucial steps in ensuring that every Filipino child has access to a conducive learning environment. We cannot expect students to thrive academically if they are crammed into overcrowded classrooms or if there is a shortage of competent teachers,” she added.
Earlier, the Department of Budget and Management led by Secretary Amenah Pangandaman handed the National Expenditures Program (NEP) to House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez in what could be one of the earliest submissions made by the executive — as it has only been nine days since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivered his second State of the Nation Address.
Initial information from the DBM showed that the proposed budget is 9.5 percent higher than the P5.267 trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) or the enacted budget for 2023.
As mandated by the 1987 Constitution, the education sector gets the highest allocation in the proposed 2024 national budget with P924.7 billion. This is higher than the P895.2 billion approved in the 2023 GAA.