By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — While the government is expending efforts to properly respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic despite budgetary constraints, budget secretary Wendel Avisado gave assurances that education will remain on top of priorities in this year’s agenda of the Duterte administration.
In a statement, Avisado disclosed that the biggest chunk of the national budget for the current year has been allocated to the Department of Education (DepEd) even as President Rodrigo Duterte himself has stressed that in order for the country to achieve a swift recovery from the economic slump brought by the ongoing health crisis, efforts must be focused on giving quality education to the youth sector.
This is why the budget chief stressed, that a part of this year’s budget was aimed at acquiring the necessary equipment for students to take part in blended learning.
“Ang Department of Education ang may pinakamalaking budget para sa taong 2021 at ito po ay umabot ng PhP751.7B katumbas ng 16.7 percent sa kabuuang budget. Dito rin po makikita natin na mas lumaki pa iyong budyet for learning resources (dahil) nandito na iyong blended learning, pagbibili ng (mga) computer, laptop, tablet, et cetera,” Avisado said.
He also mentioned that the government understands that the digitization of learning has accelerated in the past year due to the pandemic. As a result, blended learning comprises most—if not all—of today’s school arrangements, which makes the acquisition of computers, laptops, tablets, and the like essential. He also said that this shift to digitalization and other modes of learning is reflected by the increase in the allocation for education this year.
“To promote educational continuity while ensuring the safety and well-being of all students, teachers, and personnel, the education sector will be implementing Covid-19 response programs, activities, and projects that would give support to government’s initiatives,” Avisado underscored.
The said pandemic response programs will focus on learning resources and compliance to minimum health standards, capacity building, and digitization of learning modalities and programs for implementation under basic education learning continuity plan (BE-LCP).
He also shared that the government aims to enhance the capacity of teachers to cope with the ‘new normal’ way of teaching. This comes in the form of training and seminars for the teachers, which aims to improve their skills in utilizing technology to conduct lessons effectively, even from the confines of their own homes.
“Kaya mayroong tinatawag na human resources development for personnel and schools and learning centers at tsaka iyong teacher quality and development program,” he explained.
The budget secretary reiterated that, despite the ongoing pandemic, President Duterte has remained adamant in prioritizing the youth by giving them quality education for the year 2021.
“Sa kabila ng pandemya huwag daw talaga pababayaan ang kabataan,” he concluded. (AI/MTVN)