On the strength of a 25-percent increase in its budget allocation this year, the Department of Education (DepEd) is set to hire more than 65,000 personnel nationwide, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Thursday.
The DepEd has been given a budget of P543.2 billion in 2017, the biggest allocation among all the executive departments this year, the DBM said.
"The shortage crisis in teachers and non-teaching staff is seen as a major cause of the declining quality of Philippine education in thousands of public elementary and high schools," it said.
"To address this problem, the 2017 budget allocates an amount of P19.4 billion, allowing DepEd to open 53,831 teaching positions and 13,280 non-teaching positions all over the country. This will allow us to meet the suggested parameters in class size and respective student-to-teacher ratios for different grade levels," it added.
Under the 2017 budget, the DepEd got P118.8 billion to finance the repair, construction and acquisition of basic educational facilities, "including 47,492 classroom and 66,492 sets of school seats for K-12, accommodating 2 million students who have endured classes in makeshift or overcrowded classrooms."
Some P14.4 billion has been allotted to buy 55 million textbooks and instructional materials, as well as science and mathematics equipment for 5,449 schools.
"These measures will promote DepEd's objectives of widening access to basic education and increasing the quality of learning for school-aged children. The huge investment of resources will put more Filipino children to school," the DBM said.
The government expects enrollment rates in kindergarten schools at 72 percent this year from 53 percent in 2016, and elementary schools at 94 percent from 90 percent.
"Better implementation of the K-12 Program will also increase Junior High School Net Enrollment Rates from 68 percent to 73 percent," the DBM noted.
The DepEd officially rolled out the K-12 program last year, with the first batch of Grade 11 students.
With the program in place, the Philippine education system will be integrated to 12 years of basic education from the 10-year pre-university cycle. —Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VS, GMA News