Gov't allots more education budget for 2008 to improve public education
By Renee F. De Guzman
San Fernando City, La Union (7 November) -- Amid the crisis in education the country is facing today and the exodus of best teachers for high-paying teaching jobs overseas, the government is all the more determined to boost its commitment to improve the quality of education as a means to alleviate people from poverty.
In the proposed 2008 national budget, the education sector gets the top priority and will get a hefty P6.436 billion increase.
The House of Representatives, has increased the allocation for the Department of Education in the proposed 2008 general appropriations by P5.273 billion on top of the original proposal of P1.45.975 billion with the lion's share going to construction and rehabilitation of more school buildings and creation of additional teaching posts and scholarships.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Chairman of House's Appropriations panel said " the increase in the funds of the school buildings and teaching positions will ease the shortages of teachers."
To enable the pre-school education to graduate in due time from pilot stage, its total appropriations is increased by P1 billion to make it P3 billion in 2008.
"We are dismantling the dominance of elitist education in the country by starting to significantly fund pre-school education in the grassroots," Lagman said.
The rest of the increase in DepEd's appropriations is broken down as follows: P500 million for furniture; P540 million for the settlement of unpaid prior years teachers benefits under the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers; P200 million for additional outlay for medical; dental, optical and nursing services; P200 million for distance education programs in public secondary schools; P53.288 million additional personal services (PS) and maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) for secondary schools.
The increase in state universities and colleges (SUCs) is topped by P524 million for additional scholarships and financial assistance. Also appropriated are P587 million for capital outlays and P51 million for MOOE.
As Congress returns to work after a three-week recess, Speaker Jose De Venecia said the House could approve the proposed 2008 budget on third and final reading on November 13, giving Senate ample time to pass the spending measures before Christmas break.
The increased 2008 budget for the education sector is expected to somehow give a dent in the quality of our public educational system. (PIA La Union) [top]