Two leaders of the House of Representatives have sought an additional budget of P20 billion to fund the Department of Education’s printing of self-learning modules (SLMs) to ensure the “effective” implementation of its distance learning education for school year 2021-2022.
Bohol 1st District Rep. Edgar Chatto and Negros Oriental 1st District Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong have filed House Resolution No. 1274 strongly urging the House Committee on Appropriations to effect the budget augmentation for the printing and reproduction of learning modules under DepEd’s 2021 budget.
“Delay in the printing of self-learning modules is one of the reasons for the delay of the school opening from August to October. DepEd cites insufficient supplies and budget for the purchase of bond paper contributed to the delay,” they said in filing HR No. 1274.
“To ensure the full implementation and non-disruption of education through delays and problems in the printing of SLMs and to allow teachers to concentrate on the new teaching methods, there is a need to augment the present budget of the DepEd,” they stressed.
Citing the DepEd, they noted that P35 billion is needed for the printing of SLMs, but only P15 billion has been allocated under their 2021 spending plan.
According to DepEd, P5 billion will come from unprogrammed funds, while the rest will be sourced from the Special Education Fund (SEF) and Brigada Eskwela, said Chatto, chairman of the House Committee on Climate Change; and Limkaichong, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations.
They explained that the SEF, which arises from tax collected by the local government unit, supplements annual budgetary needs for the operation and maintenance of public schools within the province, city, or municipality.
Brigada Eskwela, on the other hand, is DepEd’s annual public school repair volunteer program where teachers can also seek donations for school materials, they added.
“While there are support coming from local government units and the private sector throughout the country, the same is not enough to sustain the needs of the current educational set-up for the entire school year. At best, these efforts, including the SEF and Brigada Eskwela, remains suppletory. Further, teachers should not be unduly burdened with soliciting for materials for the SLMs,” Chatto and Limkaichong said.
They said their proposal to augment the DepEd’s budget for the printing and reproduction of learning modules will benefit around 22,321,903 public school students who signed up for school year 2021-2022 opening on October 5.