As the Department of Education (DepEd) awaits the final approval of its 2021 budget, Education Secretary Leonor Briones reminded the Congress that the future of Philippine education is beyond the current administration.
Briones, during DepEd’s recent virtual briefing, discussed the changes in the education landscape. She shared the challenges faced by the agency as it implements distance learning this school year in lieu of face-to-face classes due to the COVID-19 crisis.
In particular, Briones mentioned that DepEd is dealing with various challenges in the implementation of alternative learning delivery modalities, especially the printed modular learning. She noted that DepEd is continuously exploring possibilities to reduce dependence on printed modules and find other effective means to deliver education.
However, Briones said that all these possibilities have implications on the budget. “(Although) all of those things (are) beyond our term, we are constantly reminding our Congress, which passes the appropriations law, that the future (of education) is not only 2022, the future is beyond that,” she said.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla also shared the current status of the agency’s budget proposal. “On the amount of budget approved, right now, there is no official communication from the House of Representatives about what is the level of the budget that was approved in the Lower House,” she said.
However, Sevilla explained that the DepEd’s targeted budget request of P1.1 trillion was trimmed to P605.7 billion from its initial request. “We got about 55 percent of what we requested, we also know that the budget is limited for 2021,” she explained.
Sevilla mentioned that the latest budget proposal for the 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP) was approved in the second reading of the House of Representatives last Oct. 15. “DepEd 2021 proposed budget is now up for approval in the Senate, then the bicameral session,” she added.