QUEZON CITY, MAY 24, 2019 – The Department of Education (DepEd) reported its performance and expenditures during the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures sponsored by the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Basic Education and Culture last May 8 at the House of Representatives.

Chaired by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and San Jose Del Monte City Representative Florida Robes, the meeting specifically aimed to assess the performance and expenditures of DepEd from Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 to the first quarter of 2019. The meeting also covered the Department’s FY 2020 budget proposal.

DepEd Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Nepomuceno Malaluan first presented a brief situationer on the public school system, highlighting the total number of public and private schools nationwide, enrollment data, dropout and participation rates, inputs delivery, teacher to learner ratio, classroom to learner ratio, and the provision of support to learners for FYs 2016 to 2018.

“A positive trend that we would like to note is that the K to 12 enrollment data points to the attraction of school dropouts to come back to school, contrary to the initial prediction of those who oppose the K to 12 that the introduction of the two years of senior high school will cause a further dropping out of our learners. Since we started senior high school in 2016, there has been a doubling of those who have returned to school, from the 2015 figure of 158,000 learners to 370,000 learners in 2016,” Malaluan explained.

Strategic direction
On the priority directions for FY 2020 to 2022, Malaluan shared that DepEd’s goals are to address remaining access gaps, pivot from access to quality, and modernize education management and governance.

“DepEd is looking to pivot from focusing on access to education to quality of education. Like other countries in the region, we are now looking to entrench quality learning through three important steps: by aligning competencies and curriculum standards, instruction, and assessment; by developing outstanding teachers and school leaders; and by ensuring that students come to school ready to learn,” Malaluan stated.

For access interventions, the Undersecretary also underscored DepEd’s initiative on the last mile schools program, enhancement of the Alternative Learning System (ALS), establishment of schools in barangays without elementary schools and in areas with limited secondary schools, and continuing of the school-based feeding program.

“In terms of interventions for quality, the Secretary [Leonor Magtolis Briones] has already directed the review of the curriculum. In terms of upgrading professional development of teachers and school leaders, we are now embarking on the transformation of our National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP). We are institutionalizing government-industry-education sector coordination and partnership and we will continue to improve the teaching and learning environment at the school level,” Malaluan shared.

Budget utilization
Undersecretary for Finance Service and Education Programs Delivery Unit Annalyn Sevilla discussed the 2016 to 2018 status of funds of major programs, activities, and projects particularly on textbooks, Science and Math equipment, Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL) Education, computerization, and school building programs.

“Personnel Services for our teachers comprise the highest proportion of 2018 and 2019 funds, but substantial investments are allotted for programs and infrastructure,” Sevilla pointed out.

She stated that the 2020 big ticket items for allocation include new school personnel positions, learning tools and equipment, computerization program, green basic education facilities, School-based Feeding Program, Senior High School Voucher Program, and school dental health care program.

Undersecretary Sevilla commented on the cash-based budget implementation: “Actually, DepEd is an agency that can implement cash-based approach because of the component of the Personnel Services (PS) in the allotment. The composition of PS is 72 percent, therefore 72 percent is assured to be obligated and paid in cash. The problem is on the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and capital outlay parts. The cash-based approach on programs that are very dependent on capital outlay will have problems on cash-based approach. But on the average, I think DepEd will really be a good candidate for the shift from obligation to cash-based budget.”