/ 15 September 2021

THE HIGH budget utilization rate of the Department of Education enabled the agency to achieve major gains to address challenges, Secretary Leonor Briones  said.

“The gains in education were made possible because of the very high level of support and commitment that your administration has given to education right from the beginning,” Briones reported, noting that the department posted a 96 percent budget utilization rate in 2020, a significant improvement compared to the 88 percent utilization rate in 2015.

She added that the agency gained momentum to review and update the Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum, invest in improving the learning environment, overhaul the in-service professional development system, and form broader partnerships with stakeholders for consultation and collaboration.

“We have continually addressed the challenge of quality in basic education. We are now concentrating on quality since we were successful in increasing enrollment levels. So it’s not quantity alone but quality as well,” the DepEd chief emphasized.

In addition, the department constructed 150,149 new classrooms and 12,786 technical and vocational laboratories and workshops and repaired and rehabilitated 103,548 classrooms in the last five years.

Briones also highlighted that the Alternative Learning System Act helped more out-of-school youth and adults. The average number of these enrollees from 2016-2021 is 57% higher compared to past administrations.

Meanwhile, from 2016 to 2021, around 2 million learners were fed under the School-based Feeding Program, a marked improvement from the annual average of 296,239 from 2010 to 2016.

The agency also hired 205,850 teachers or 96 percent of the 213,736 teaching positions created from 2016 to 2020, which resulted in the improvement of the teacher-learner ratio from 1:32 in 2016 to 1:28 in 2020 for the elementary level.

Briones also mentioned the establishment of the Education Futures Programme, the inauguration of the National Academy of Sports, and the proposal to establish new teaching positions to promote career growth among teachers.