December 4, 2020 – The Department of Education (DepEd), together with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM), released a Joint Circular No. 2, s. 2020 to widen the use of the Special Education Fund (SEF) to further assist schools this year.
“We thank our DILG and DBM for embodying our whole-of-government approach and heeding our call to support education amidst the pandemic. This Joint Circular is a significant step in our efforts to ensure that learning opportunities will still be available despite the situation,” DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.
“We also thank the President [Rodrigo Roa Duterte] for giving his full support to the Department of Education. Truly, he scraped the bottom of the barrel just to provide safe learning opportunities to all the learners in the country,” Sec. Briones added.
With the Joint Circular, SEF can now shoulder the payments of expenses from the production of the self-learning modules, textbooks, activity sheets, and study guides or manuals approved and quality-assured by the DepEd. Purchase of external storage devices such as flash drives, hard drives, and communication expenses can also be subsidized by the said fund.
“Through the widened use of the Special Education Fund, our field offices, alongside our very supportive LGU officials, can be more flexible in assisting our teachers, learners, and even our parents in the distance learning set-up,” Briones explained.
Local government units or school division offices can also pursue the acquisition of personal computers, laptops, tablets, printers, scanners, television, and radio peripherals to assist their learners if necessary.
Procuring personal protective equipment and medical needs such as facemasks, face shields, hand gloves, surgical caps, hats, eye goggles, thermal scanners, vaccines, vitamins and minerals, hand sanitizers, alcohol, and disinfectants can also be supported by the SEF.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Services will also be more accessible for the teaching, non-teaching personnel, and learners, according to the joint circular the three departments released.
Also, webinars and upskilling activities will be given to the teachers, personnel, school leaders, parents, learning facilitators, and community education volunteers under its provisions.
Before the issuance of JC No. 2 this year, the SEF was only designed to provide assistance in the operation and maintenance of public schools; construction and repair of school buildings, facilities, and equipment; educational development and research; and sports enhancement.