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Gov’t allocates the biggest share of 2014 budget to education

As role of education in economic development remains crucial, the national government gave the Department of Education (DepEd) the biggest budget among all state agencies to address deficiencies in country’s educational requirement.

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said that education sector has P309.43 billion budget for this year, which includes about P44.6 billion appropriation for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of school buildings nationwide.

“A considerable portion of the 2014 budget will help ensure the continued improvement of our public education system. Last year, we were successful in narrowing down most of our educational requirement gaps, and we’re even more determined now to address the remaining deficiencies completely,” Abad said.

“The education initiatives are also complemented by our efforts to ensure that children are able to enroll and, even more important, remain in school until they graduate. These are some very necessary investments in the country’s human capital that the 2014 budget wholly supports,” he added.

Abad noted, for example, that through the expanded Conditional Cash Transfer program (CCT) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a total of 4.3 million student beneficiaries will be sufficiently covered to allow them to graduate from high school.

Among other education targets for the year include the procurement of additional textbooks and workbooks to attain the ideal 1:1 student per textbook ratio. In support of the K-12 Program, an appropriation of P1.7 billion has likewise been set aside for the procurement of over 42 million learning modules and teaching guides.

Abad also announced that various programs and projects designed to enhance students’ skills and capabilities will be implemented this year.

This includes the school-based management installation support (P1 billion), the Alternative Delivery Mode Project (e-IMPACT) in the DepEd’s regular budget, the Abot-Alam Program (P1.97 billion), and the Basic Education Madrasah Program (P535 million), among several others.

Financial assistance to in-need students will also be continued this year through various scholarship programs.

Furthermore, the budget chief also mentioned the creation of around 34,700 new teaching and non-teaching positions with an allocated budget of P8.56 billion, which will help bring the teacher-to-pupil ratio to an ideal 1:45.

A stand-by appropriation of P655 million for Quick Response Funds has likewise been allotted specifically for the repair, rehabilitation, renovation and/or replacement of school buildings and essential teaching aids and materials that may be destroyed by natural calamities.

“We remain mindful of the potential challenges that may hamper our progress this year, especially with respect to providing quality education to Filipino students. The 2014 National Budget considers these possible setbacks — such as typhoons and calamities — so that emergencies don’t endanger our broader goal of establishing a robust public education system,” Abad added.