The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) commends the DepEd for informing the public ‘where their taxes go,’ however, the group also criticized the department for spending too much for some unworthy programs while allocating very little for the necessities.
Basas specifically pointed out the expenses for Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) which according to DepEd statement, “provides alternative opportunities to deserving students whose families can afford to spend extra for private school tuition, and are selected from the graduating elementary students and are supported until they finish 4th year high school while complying with the minimum academic requirements of the program.”
“The government is set to allocate 6.3 billion for this program, a very huge amount compared to other more important budget items in the DepEd. Thus, it needs to be reviewed, the DepEd should evaluate the implementation and impact of this program.” Basas explained. “Clearly, the funds are needed to finance more meaningful and tangible investments like construction of classrooms and other facilities and hiring of teachers.” Basas continued.
The group also chided the government for ignoring the fiscal requirements to implement the K-12 program, the flagship program of the Aquino government in education which plans to institutionalize free and universal kindergarten and include it in the expanded basic education of at least 13 years.
“In the DepEd’s transparency report, there is no specific mention of P-Noy’s flagship program. How much money would be spent to hire regular kinder teachers with a dignified compensation? How many classrooms will be built to house kinder students? Will there be instructional materials for teachers and learning materials for pre-school kids?” Basas asked.
Basas said that until now the ‘volunteer teachers’ and regular DepEd teachers who served in the kindergarten program from June of this year are yet to be paid of their P3000 monthly honorarium.
“The improvement in education system depends largely on the fiscal policy of the government and if this trend continues, we could never expect for a better output.” Basas ended.
Benjo Basas, TDC Chairperson 0920-5740241/385-3437