Purchase of overpriced, outdated laptops ‘sad and revolting’ --- teachers

Teachers expressed dismay over the P2.4 billion purchase of “pricey yet outdated” laptops for the use of teachers under the Department of Education (DepEd) as many of them continue to struggle in buying their personal computers.

(Photo from Unsplash)

“While our teachers are forced to take loans to buy their own laptops, it hurts to know that the government has funds that end up buying overpriced and outdated laptops that cannot be used in teaching,” said Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) national chairperson Benjo Basas in a statement issued Saturday, Aug. 6.

TDC issued the amid the controversy involving the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2021 report that that the DepEd --- thru the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) --- has purchased “outdated and overpriced” laptops for teachers.

Based on the COA report, more than 39, 000 units of laptops were purchased at P58, 000 per unit, or a total cost of P2.4 billion. Due to the price of the units, around 28, 000 intended recipients were deprived of the opportunity to avail of the said benefit.

“It is sad and even revolting that there are such controversies,” Basas, who is also a teacher in Caloocan City, said.

In a statement on Aug. 5, DepEd acknowledged COA’s annual report --- noting that it is “taking steps to address the recommendations presented.”

DepEd also noted that the question on the price of laptops can be best answered by the PS-DBM which is the procuring entity.



Moreover, TDC called on Congress to investigate the transaction and file necessary charges against anyone involved if there are irregularities found.

Free laptops, internet connectivity

Meanwhile, TDC reiterated the need for the government to provide teachers with laptops and internet connections for free.

“Laptop computers and the internet are necessary for our everyday teaching, “ Basas said. “Everything we use in teaching is almost digital, so those who don't have a laptop will be left behind,” he added.

However, Basas noted that “with the average teacher's low salary, it is not really easy to buy a good laptop.”

Since the use of laptops and the internet are crucial to teaching, the provision of such should be a government obligation.

“These should be provided free by the government, along with other materials for the teaching and learning process,” Basas said.

“We cannot ask our security forces- the police and the military to buy their own guns to use against criminals or avail of firearms loan,” he added.