/ 15 September 2022

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers called on lawmakers to increase the education budget to address shortages and recover learning loss.

“A significant increase to as much as two times the current education budget is central to enabling a 100 percent safe school reopening and recovering education from the learning crisis. Hindi mababago ang bagsak na kalidad ng edukasyon sa pabarya-baryang dagdag sa badyet habang ang ibang items ay kinakaltasan pa,” Vladimer Quetua, the group’s chairperson, said.

“For decades, Philippine spending on education only reaches up to 2 to 4 percent of our gross domestic product. It is urgent that we finally adhere to the United Nation’s recommendation of spending at least 6 percent of GDP on education,” he said.

“With the projected GDP of P23.729 trillion in 2023, the government should spend about P1.424 trillion on education. However, the proposed 2023 budget for DepEd is only P667.18 billion or a mere 12 percent increase from last year’s P592.695 billion. Such scant funding cannot fill in the many shortages in education, which is integral in education recovery,” Quetua added.

He stressed the need to allot funds for the construction of 91,000 new classrooms, based on DepEd’s own count of classroom shortages.

“Napipilitan tayo ngayon sa 2 o 3 beses sa isang linggo na face-to-face classes lamang, may morning at afternoon shift pa, dahil sa kakulangan ng classroom. Hindi natin mahahabol ang learning loss sa ganitong kalagayan,” he said.

Quetua said DepEd should hire 147,000 more teachers to cut down class size to 35 students.

“This is crucial if we want to uplift the quality of education. This will only cost the government another P54 billion. Malaki ang magiging pakinabang ng bansa kung matututukan ng mga guro ang pagkatuto ng bawat mag-aaral, hindi tulad ngayon na nagtuturo kami sa anim hanggang siyam na klase na higit 50 ang bata sa isang klasrum,” he added.

“We now suffer from the shortages in arm chairs and learning materials. At least 1.5 million arm chairs or desks should be procured to keep up with the increased enrolment. The old practice of sharing learning materials should also end, every student should have a complete set of textbooks and modules.”