Increased allocation and strong commitment by the Duterte administration enabled the Department of Education (DepEd) to improve the overall condition of the country’s education system, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said Friday.
Reporting on the accomplishments of DepEd in the last five years, Briones said President Rodrigo Duterte inspired the department to carryout reforms such as building more infrastructures and facilities, increasing teachers’ pay, and modernizing approach to teaching that benefits Filipino learners.
“When you assumed in 2016, Mr. President, you increased our budget by 31 percent from 2015, which is very, very significant. And at present, our budget stands at P595 billion, which constitutes a significant portion of our National Budget as provided for by the Constitution,” she said in her report to the President.
“What is important, Mr. President, is how we utilized the budget and the funds which are made available to us. In the year 2015, just before you assumed office, Mr. President, we had in DepEd 88 percent budget utilization. At present from the year 2020, your budget utilization rate is 96 percent.”
This means DepEd has utilized more funds it received through the National Budget, from 88 percent to 96 percent.
In terms of enrollment, Briones said DepEd concentrated on quantity and recorded 8.45 percent increase in enrollment from 2019 figures. And despite the pandemic, DepEd recorded an enrollment of 26.23 million students this year.
With more funds released to the education department, it was able to build 150,149 new classrooms compared to the 2010 to 2016 period with 118,000 classrooms. It also built 12,786 technical and vocational laboratories compared to 147 constructed during the same period.
DepEd has also repaired and rehabilitated classrooms: 103,548 compared to 35,804 for similar period, according to the education secretary.
To protect the country’s heritage schools, DepEd rebuilt 588 Gabaldon Heritage Schools compared to 53 buildings rehabilitated during the previous administration.
The department also focused on increasing teachers’ salaries, Briones said. When President Duterte assumed office in 2016, a teacher at the lowest level position earned P19,077. Under the present administration, an educator earns P23,877.
“By the time you end your administration in 2022, the lowest salary rate of a teacher, lowest grade is P25,439, and not the pittance, which has also been described by various sources,” she told the President.
Teachers also receive P1,000 World Teachers’ Day incentive during the yearly celebration of Global Teachers’ Day. The grant of the incentive was through the initiative of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
Productivity Enhancement Incentive, loyalty cash incentive, transportation and teaching aid allowance for alternative learning teachers, are also part of the list of incentives for teachers.
Looking at the future, DepEd established the Education Futures Programme, aimed at studying new development in the global education landscape such as the possibility of using robotics in teaching, machines, as well as brain implants.
The National Academy of Sports, which could open this year, is also a latest addition to DepEd’s initiatives.
“Bago itong dalawa: National Academy of Sports and the Education Futures Programme.
So, Mr. President, these are just a few of the things that we have achieved with your support, with your inspiration, and, of course, with your financial generosity. And we look forward to attaining these moves by the time your term ends,” Briones said. PND