/ 1 February 2022

A GROUP of lawmakers filed a resolution calling for the immediate investigation of the implementation of the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education by the Department of Education.

The Makabayan bloc filed House Resolution 2480 that seeks a congressional probe into issues raised by private schools, teachers and students who are GASTPE beneficiaries.

GASTPE and the expanded version of the program were enacted to decongest public schools and make education available to all Filipino children. It is meant to aid the private sector in fulfilling its complementary role in providing education.

The program has five components — Educational Service Contracting, Teachers’ Salary Subsidy, Senior High School Voucher Program, In-Service Training and the Research Program.

In their resolution, the lawmakers cited the 2018 Commission on Audit’s report stating that the DepEd lacks data that can be used to assess whether the program improved the quality of teaching and education in private schools.

Also observed in the audit were the indications of laxity in the determination and participation of schools in the voucher program, which are, in turn, indications of doubtfulness on whether they are able to provide quality education to the grantees.

“The Congress must be assured of transparency and accountability on the part of DepEd, including in its dealings with private entities, considering that it is tasked with the management of such an important and expensive program,” the lawmakers said.