The Department of Education has increased the budget allocation for Special Education (SPED) centers in the elementary level all over the country by more than fifty percent to enable public schools to properly respond to the needs of gifted children and those with learning disabilities.
Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC said from P115 million last year, the government has increased the budget subsidy to P180 million, up by 56%. The number of SPED centers operated by DepEd also increased from 276 in School Year 2011-2012 to 345 in School Year 2012-2013.
“We believe that special learners deserve special attention and specialized learning tools thus the increase in funding support,” Luistro explained.
The financial subsidy amounting to P500,000 per SPED center will sustain the implementation of SPED programs, projects, and activities. DepEd has also allocated P42,000 per division and P40,000 per region to monitor the implementation of programs for children with special needs as well as keep track of the efficient utilization of SPED funds.
The grant subsidy is intended for pupil development activities such as training, educational visits, camp activities, sports and pupil participation in SPED related events. It is also allotted to procure instructional and reference material, psychological and other assessment tools, early intervention materials, supplies for the transition program, manipulative materials for the gifted/talented and those with disabilities.
Certain amount is also earmarked for the professional upgrading of teachers, school heads, and supervisors including travel expenses relative to their participation and attendance in activities relevant to the implementation of the program.
Luistro also said the instructional materials to be procured for gifted children should be over and above those already included in the regular program.
The instructional materials should likewise be able to develop the gifted child’s intellectual abilities and talents in the arts and sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and communications.
The instructional materials shall also be technology-based, requiring the use of electronic equipment which include but is not limited to software programs, video discs, optical discs, video and audio tapes.
Luistro said that DepEd shall closely monitor the optimum utilization of funds at all levels. “I enjoin all concerned school officials to strictly comply with the fund utilization guidelines so we can deliver the best service to our special learners,” he said. Non-compliance therewith may result to the suspension of subsidy.
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