Senate panel pushes for additional funding for DepEd, SUCs for face-to-face classes

Published November 21, 2021, 8:56 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate Committee on Finance is pushing for an increase in the funding of the Department of Education (DepEd) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the proposed P5-trillion national budget for 2022.

Sen. Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate finance panel, said the budget increase for DepEd and SUCs is in anticipation of the possible expansion of the face-to-face classes in more schools next year.

Angara noted there is no specific allocation in the proposed national budget for the preparation and implementation of face-to-face classes in the basic and higher education institutions (HEIs)

“In response to the pilot implementation of face-to-face classes, the committee saw it fit to recommend increases in the budgets of the DepEd and SUCs,” Angara said.

“Sisiguraduhin natin na ligtas ang ating mga mag-aaral at mga guro at simulan na sa mas madaling panahon ang pag-aaaral ng mas marami pang estudyante sa loob ng silid-aralan (We will make sure that our students and teachers are safe and fast track moves to ensure that more students would be able to go to schools),” he added.

The DepEd started rolling out the pilot implementaiton of in-person classes in 100 public schools last Monday and will also start implementing it in 20 private schools this Nov. 22.

Angara said the DepEd and all SUCs should be provided with the necessary funding support especially with the expectation that more schools would be allowed to resume classes in the coming months.

The senator earlier said the Senate finance panel added over P1-billion to the 2022 budget of SUCs and public schools in 2022 to allow them to retrofit their facilities for in-person classes so they can comply with the minimum health and safety standards.

He said the funds could be used to modify the layout and ventilation of the classrooms, laboratories and other parts of the schools; be used for the COVID-19 testing of the faculty and staff to ensure that they and the students are protected when they hold classes.

Angara also said the funds could be used to purchase supplies and other equipment for the implementation of safety protocols and standards.

“We want to give them some degree of flexibility in the use of the funds since each institution would have different needs,” he said.

“This is why we included in the menu of programs—assistance to the students, teachers and staff for their transportation requirements, which include the purchase of non-motorized forms of transportation such as bicycles,” Angara stressed.