House panel OKs bills seeking to address classroom shortage, voucher system

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2023 07:40 PM

MANILA — The House Committee on Basic Education and Culture approved on Monday a measure that seeks to address the persistent problem of classroom shortage in the country by rationalizing the Department of Education’s (DepEd) budget allocation for capital outlay.

Under House Bill 3714, 70% of DepEd’s annual budget for capital outlay shall be allocated only among legislative districts with classroom shortages, pro-rata to the total classroom shortage of the country. 

Twenty percent of the total capital outlay shall be allocated pro-rata according to the student population of each legislative district in relation to the total student population of the country, and 10 percent will be allocated to national high schools, as may be determined by the DepEd. The measure also mandates a 20 percent annual increase in DepEd’s budget for capital outlay.
The House panel also approved on Monday an unnumbered substitute bill seeking to establish the Private Basic Education Voucher Program.
Under the measure, the government will provide vouchers to recognized private basic education school for the education of kindergarten, elementary, and secondary students. The DepEd shall determine the amount of the vouchers. 

The total amount would not be less than the amount currently provided by the DepEd. The voucher assistance for students would be based on tuition and other fees charged by the schools, and the socio-economic needs of each student.
Students who are most vulnerable and underprivileged, or those belonging to the bottom first to fifth income deciles, as determined by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), shall be prioritized for the program. The priority students would receive a higher voucher amount.