Teachers Worried Over Php150-Billion Cut in 2020 DepEd Budget for Classrooms, Textbooks

According to the law, the Department of Education (DepEd) should have the largest allocation of the budget for any given year, among all agencies of the government. “The State shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education,” states the 1987 Constitution.

Amid the steady increase in the number of students and low proficiency levels in schools, DepEd seeks to increase its budget by Php30 billion for 2020, with its proposed budget of Php551.72 billion. But the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP) had plenty of cuts in the proposed budget, making a lot of teachers worried about the state of the country’s education.

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The budget for the classrooms and textbooks is among the most affected by the budget cuts.

In a report on ABS-CBN News, it was shown that though the DepEd proposal was for Php172.5 billion to be allocated for 64,795 classrooms, the 2020 NEP only allocates Php20 billion for 8,000 classrooms – that’s not even a quarter of the proposal!

Photo credit: ABS-CBN News

Considering the steady growth of student populations, particularly in public schools, there is an urgent need for the government to build more classrooms in schools across the country. Moreover, earthquakes, fires, and other problems lead to damage in the rooms that sometimes need to be demolished for the learners’ safety.

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Left with no choice, it might be a good idea for the schools to seek for the release of the Special Education Fund from Local Government Units (LGUs); however, that’s easier said than done.

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As for the budget cut on textbooks, teachers fear that this would bring more problems in school because many students don’t have a textbook. Many teachers have to shell out their own money to photocopy these books so their students can have something to use. That’s not to mention the other learning materials they also have to provide using their own money.

But Usec. Annalyn Sevilla, DepEd spokesperson, said that the 2020 budget for textbooks was adjusted because new books are coming this year. Delays in the release of previous budgets meant that the new textbooks will only be received this year instead of those previous years.

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Netizens were quick to comment, though, that DepEd recently got slammed for the millions of unused textbooks and other materials stocked in several warehouses. Many are hoping these books will be distributed to schools instead of just sitting there, unused and possibly rotting, at the unkempt warehouses!

Photo credit: ABS-CBN News

Watch the report on the budget cuts here:

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