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Hike in DepEd, SUC funds pushed
IN anticipation of the likely expansion of face-to-face classes in more schools next year, the Senate Committee on Finance is pushing for an increase in the funding of the Department of Education and the State Universities and Colleges under the 2022 national budget.
Senator Sonny Angara, head of the Finance Committee, took note of the absence of any provision in the National Expenditure Program and General Appropriations Bill for the preparations and implementation of face-to-face classes in the basic and higher education institutions.
With the rollout of the pilot implementation of in-person classes in 100 public schools last Monday and in 20 private schools starting this November 22, Angara said the DepEd and the SUCs should be provided with the necessary funding support especially with the expectation that more schools will be allowed to resume classes in the coming months.
“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. 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,” Angara said.
The committee recommended an increase in the budget of the DepEd to cover for the resumption of face-to-face classes.
For the 116 SUCs, including the University of the Philippines System, the Committee included an augmentation in its funds for their own preparations for in-person classes.
Angara said the funds may be used by the DepEd and school administrators for the retrofitting of their classrooms and other facilities to comply with the safety standards set by the health authorities.
These could include the modification of the layout and ventilation of the classrooms, laboratories and other parts of the schools.
The funds could also be used for the Covid19 testing of the faculty and staff to ensure that they and the students are protected when they hold classes.
If necessary, Angara said the funds could also go to the purchase of 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. 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 said.