DepEd says to support LGUs in funding shift to distance learning

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2020 12:22 PM

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MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) said Tuesday that it has come up with strategies to help local government units fund schools in the shift to alternative modes of learning as in person-classes remain suspended due to the continuing threat of the new coronavirus.

In a statement, the DepEd said the Special Education Fund of local governments is only one of six fund sources for the continued education of students in the coming school year.

"DepEd will continue to closely collaborate with the LGUs to efficiently and productively align this fund with the different learning delivery modalities to be implemented in our schools," the agency said.

The DepEd was reacting to a Facebook post published Monday by Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, who expressed concerns over the province's lack of funding to support DepEd's distance learning plans.

Remulla said P5 billion would be needed to support the shift to alternative modes of learning in Cavite but the 2020 budget of the province is only at P4.7 billion.

In an interview with Teleradyo, Education Undersecretary Anne Sevilla said the DepEd has funds that could be used to support the shift to distance learning.

"Mayroon hong budget ang DepEd... [para sa] face-to-face [learning] ang aming budget and we try to reprogram it," she said.

(The DepEd has a budget... This is for face-to-face learning and we try to reprogram it.)

"May ida-download po kami na pera sa mga eskuwelahan," she added.

(We will download money to the schools.)

DepEd also cites as available fund sources the schools' maintenance and other operating expenses, development partners, and contributions through the Brigada Eskwela.

This year, the DepEd altered the Brigada Eskwela activity, seeking partners from both the public and private sectors to provide the needs of students in the coming school year.

Sevilla added that the DepEd has also asked the Department of Budget and Management and Congress for a supplementary budget.

In-person classes have been prohibited pending the availability of a vaccine against COVID-19.

The DepEd plans to use online platforms, printed and digital modules, radio, and television to deliver lessons to students when the school year starts in August.

Classes in public schools are scheduled to start on August 24 while private schools are allowed to start earlier upon seeking the approval of DepEd regional directors.