National gov’t to build classrooms, hire 13,000 teachers

THE national government is set to spend P14.68 billion to build 41,381 new classrooms next year, and another P2.879 billion to create and fill 13,000 extra teaching positions for the public school system.

Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said the amounts are contained in the P238.8-billion allocation for the Department of Education (Deped) in the proposed P1.816-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2012.

Barzaga said Deped’s slice of the 2012 national budget is P31.5 billion, or 15.2 percent, greater than its P207.3-billion portion this year.

“We are hopeful that government’s growing and sustained investment in basic education will enable the country to achieve universal primary schooling by 2015,” Barzaga said.

The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals bind the Philippines to “ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.”

Barzaga said Deped’s budget next year includes P17.4 billion for the Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF). The amount is 54 percent, or P6.1 billion, greater than the fund’s P11.3 billion allotment this year.

He said P13.68 billion of the fund would go to the construction of 40,208 additional classrooms under School Building Program for Areas with Acute Classroom Shortage.

Another P1.155 billion would be spent to recondition 3,850 rundown classrooms; P1.54 billion to install 25,667 water and sanitation facilities in schools; and P1.045 billion to procure 2.47 million chairs under the School Furniture Program.

Outside of the BEFF, Barzaga said another P1 billion has been set aside for the Department of Public Works and Highways to separately put up 1,173 new classrooms and acquire 56,304 chairs under the Regular School Building Program.

Also outside of the BEFF, he said Deped would spend another P2.625 billion to secure 45.5 million textbooks and teacher’s manuals.

Meanwhile, Deped’s allocation next year also includes P6.286 billion to subsidize the tuition of some one million private high school students, Barzaga said.

In the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE), Deped enters into education service contracting with private high schools.

The private institutions receive students who can no longer be accommodated in existing public high schools due to lack of staff and resources. In return, government pays the private school anywhere between P5,000 to P10,000 per student every year.

This year, GASTPE is subsidizing the tuition of 757,401 private high school students to the tune of P5.83 billion.

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