Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones in a lecture held recently at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium, Silliman University in Dumaguete City stressed the need to make education relevant to the needs of the times.
DepEd currently has 26.6 million learners from kindergarten to Grade 12, and employs 687,229 teachers, both in public and private schools. This makes DepEd the largest bureaucracy in the country, and consequently has the highest level of budget allocated from public funds.
Of the P552.52 billion budget this year, Briones said 60 percent goes to salaries, and 40 percent to the construction of school buildings with complete facilities, and other related operations.
She also tackled the four key deliverables of DepEd as: first, to raise the quality of education in the country; second, to make education more accessible, especially to minorities; third, make education relevant to the urgent need and opportunities of our nation; and fourth, make education truly liberating.
She discussed the internal and external challenges that DepEd is facing, such as the conflict between the state and various groups, climate change and disasters, budget utilization, procurement, accounting systems, capacity-building, and the salaries and indebtedness of teachers, which is one of their major challenges.
During the 21 st Cabinet meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, Briones said they discussed the possibility of further increasing the salaries of teachers, especially with the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, or TRAIN law, effective 2018. While she expressed gratitude for this plan, Briones said increases in salaries should not only be for teachers, but for all who serve the public. *
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