Quantity and quality: DepEd continues to address challenges in basic education

Published September 14, 2021, 3:58 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Department of Education (DepEd) has posted major milestones to address the challenges in basic education in the country.

Photo taken at Calay IP School, Sarangani in 2020 (DepEd Region XII)

“We have continually addressed the challenge of quality in basic education,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said in a statement issued Tuesday, Sept. 14.

“We are now concentrating on quality since we were successful in increasing enrollment levels. So it’s not quantity alone but quality as well,” she added.

DepEd said among these milestones include improved budget utilization and investments to attain quality education under the Duterte administration.

Briones also summarized DepEd’s accomplishments in the last five years in a televised briefing on Sept. 11. She noted that the agency “enjoyed high budget allocation and utilization rate” during Duterte’s term to carry out key education reforms.

“The gains in education were made possible because of the very high level of support and commitment that your administration has given to education right from the beginning,” Briones said.

DepEd, Briones said, posted a 96 percent budget utilization rate for 2020 — which is a “significant improvement” compared to the 88 percent utilization rate in 2015.

Briones said that given these developments, DepEd has gained momentum to review and update the K to 12 curriculum, invest in improving the learning environment, overhaul the in-service professional development system, and form broader partnerships with stakeholders for consultation and collaboration.

As part of its efforts to continuously address the challenges in basic education, Briones said that DepEd was able to construct 150,149 new classrooms and 12,786 technical and vocational laboratories and workshops.

A total 103,548 classrooms were also repaired and rehabilitated in the last five years.

Under her term, Briones also highlighted that the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Act helped more out-of-school youth and adults.

DepEd said that the average number of Out-of-School Youth and Adults (OSYAs) enrollees from 2016 to 2021 is 57 percent higher compared to past administrations.

From 2016 to 2021, DepEd said that around two million learner beneficiaries were fed under the School-based Feeding Program. This, the agency said, is a “marked improvement” from the annual average of 296,239 from 2010 to 2016.

From 2016 to 2020, DepEd also hired 205,850 teachers or 96 percent of the 213,736 teaching positions created. This, DepEd said, has resulted in the improvement of teacher-learner ratio from 1:32 in 2016 to 1:28 in 2020 for the elementary level.

Moreover, Briones highlighted the establishment of the Education Futures Programme, the inauguration of the National Academy of Sports, and the proposal to establish new teaching positions to promote career growth among teachers as key gains of the DepEd in the last five years.