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City officials expressed their all-out support to an increased national budget of the Department of Education next year to further enhance the implementation of appropriate strategies that will ensure the effective and efficiently delivery of quality education to the pupils and students amidst the ongoing pandemic.
Under Resolution No. 627, series of 2020, signed by Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, local legislators stated that the ACT Teachers Party-list, together with the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives, proposed a modest amount of P127 billion additional allotment for the education department, the non-reduction of important state universities and colleges (SUCs) budget items, and sufficient assistance to small private schools to allow the same to cope with the serious negative effects of the pandemic that heavily impacted most sectors of the country.
The council claimed that a higher 2021 national budget for the education department, SUCs and assistance for small private schools, is imperative for education to fulfill its important role in the overall government response against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to enable the pupils and students to acquire quality education.
The council noted that one of the most important urgent concerns arising from the COVID pandemic is education and the continuity of learning that provides the information component for correct knowledge and adaptation to the crisis for the citizens and the country as a whole.
According to the council, the pandemic has caused unnecessary postponements for the schoolyear 2020-2021 for all levels of education because of the adoption measures for safer learning modalities and health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus among teachers and the youth who are, by the World Health Organization (WHO) pronouncements, as the most mobile sector who can easily transmit the disease leading to the possible overwhelming of the country’s health care system and the stressing of the involved frontliners.
In a related development, as the teachers are currently working on the present schoolyear, the council asserted the city government has been doing and will continue to do its best to help prepare the requisites for measures, including coordinating with concerned government agencies, private institutions and education sub-sector organizations, to supplement assistance to displaced private school teachers and to lessen the financial burden for students and parents.
The council stipulated the proposed P568 billion national budget of the education department for calendar year 2021 is far below the agency’s proposal of P1.11 trillion necessary to meet the education needs of the youth, especially during this period of the pandemic that requires the implementation of blended learning.
The council admitted the reduced budget of SUCs for several items and the meager allotment for assistance to small private schools to sufficiently sustain their teachers will not be enough, thus, the need for the government to reconsider its decision on the aforesaid matters to ensure that the enrolled students will acquire quality education from the different public and private learning institutions.
By Dexter A. See