DepEd urged to step up procurement of science, math gear
CONGRESS has appropriated P6.56 billion over the past two years to purchase science and math equipment “but not even a single peso worth of equipment” has been bought as of end of June, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said on Wednesday.
Recto then urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to step up its procurement of science and math equipment after a report submitted to the Senate showed that not one delivery has been made to the 38,689 schools, which were supposed to get them as early as last year.
The senator noted that the invitation to bid for contracts to be funded by the 2014 budget was scheduled to be posted on June 9, 2015, “or six months past the year within which they should have been purchased.”
For 2014, he said, P2.56 billion was authorized in the national budget for Grades 1 to 3 science and math kits for distribution to 38,689 schools. Recto said another P4 billion was appropriated this year for equipment to be distributed to Grades 4 to 6 math and science classes in 27,919 schools.
“On both counts, there is zero accomplishment,” he said.
Recto said the DepEd might have valid reasons for the delay “but considering the fact that the delivery is now two school openings late then they ought to have fixed whatever bugs there are by now.”
“They may have discovered that the quality of the goods being offered is below par or the process followed was not compliant with procurement laws. Or probably there were no interested parties,” he said.
“The challenge hence is to avoid further delay, accelerate the acquisition, and learn the lessons well so delays will not happen in the future.”
“Let us aspire for the ideal that when classes open in June, new science and math equipment are already waiting for the students,” the senator added.
Recto said there is still enough time to make the purchase, “more so if preparatory activities have been done in the fiscal year before.”
The senator explained that the provision of science and math equipment in public schools was vital to the ongoing project to modernize public schools.
“One of the specialization tracks in the upper years of the K-12 curriculum is STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and mastering these subjects require equipment,” he pointed out.
Recto said ending the backlog in science labs has been recommended by experts if the Philippines would like to improve student test scores in the STEM field, in which it ranks low in global report cards.
“Another recommendation is to make sure that 80 percent of science teachers are science majors or have taken up masteral units on the subject,” he said.
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