/ 18 August 2020

SENATOR Win Gatchalian has urged the government to ensure more funding for the education sector amid the country’s Covid19 recovery efforts.

To sustain the education sector’s recovery, Gatchalian reiterated the need to ensure that the 2021 national budget has adequate allocation for education, including government subsidy programs such as the Senior High School Voucher Program and the Education Service Contracting so that these programs don’t reduce the number of beneficiaries.

“There’s always an economic growth that follows whenever we invest heavily in education. Pouring more money into education means a more educated future. Milyung-milyong mag-aaral ang mabibigyan ng pagkakataon para sa isang dekalidad na edukasyon,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

Gatchalian also reiterated the need to invest in the Department of Education’s digital transformation to develop its capability and enhance its capacity to roll out distance learning and continuously deliver quality education when emergencies prevent face-to-face instruction.

The lawmaker stressed that DepEd urgently needs to streamline its procedures, workflows, and processes by adopting automation and digitization of its services to make the exchange of data and information between and among its offices, learners and parents secure, efficient and seamless, including but not limited to matters pertaining to enrollment, payments, grades submission or parent-teacher meetings.

“The pandemic’s impact on the education sector is manifested in private school enrollment,” he said.

While the education sector’s P692 billion allocation is the highest in the 2020 budget, education spending in the Philippines still falls below the United Nations standard, which is six percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Last year’s Senate budget hearings pointed out that education spending in the country is only 3.4 percent of GDP.

According to Gatchalian, the expected enactment of the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2.0 will bring immediate relief to learners, teachers, and personnel in affected private schools.

Under Bayanihan 2.0, affected teachers and non-teaching personnel will receive a one-time cash assistance. Learners who are not covered by government educational subsidies and voucher programs will also receive tuition subsidies.