Laptop funds for public school teachers sought

A HOUSE leader on Sunday urged Malacañang to include in the proposed national budget for next year an allocation that would allow the Department of Education (DepEd) to provide laptops to all 880,000 public school teachers in the country.

“We hope that a budget for the purchase of laptops for all teachers in public schools will be included in the 2021 National Expenditure Program to be submitted by Malacañang to Congress in July or August,” said House Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera.

According to Herrera, a laptop has never been more important for public teachers as they prepare to shift to online teaching as part of the DepEd’s distance and blended learning program in response to the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) crisis.

“We have to make sure that our teachers are equipped with at least the most basic technology tool for online teaching, which is a laptop,” said Herrera.

The DepEd had earlier revealed it would need a whopping P27 billion in order to provide each public school teacher a laptop.

Herrera said the laptops for teachers may cost a lot, but “it’s money well spent.”

“By having a laptop, teachers can enhance the curriculum, providing students with extensive research opportunities, access to up-to-date information and many other learning benefits,” Herrera pointed out.

By the end of 2020, the education department said that 190,574 laptops will be available for use by teachers or 22 percent of the total DepEd teaching force.

Herrera said the remaining 78 percent or around 680,000 teachers must be covered by the spending program to be submitted by Malacañang to Congress.

Under Article VII, Section 22 of the 1987 Constitution, the President is mandated to submit to Congress a budget of expenditures and sources
of financing, including receipts from existing and proposed revenue measures, “within thirty days from the opening of every regular session.”

The second regular session of the 18th Congress will open on July 27.

Herrera said she would be more than willing to sponsor the DepEd budget, which includes an allocation for purchase of laptops for
public school teachers.