SENATE President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Tuesday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) not to use connection but competence as yardstick in hiring new 33,194 teachers next year.
“I hope that DepEd will use competence and not connection as the yardstick in choosing new mentors,” Recto said.
Recto described the proposed education budget for 2014 as a “big shopping cart of school supplies” that will close manpower and equipment gaps in public schools.
Aside from hiring 33,194 teachers, Recto said the Deped will also hire 1,500 principals next year, a move that will cost P9.5 billion in initial year salary.
“With this number, it can be said that DepEd will be holding a year-round job fair in 2014,” Recto said.
To end the perennial problem of classroom lack, Recto said government next year will build 43,183 new classrooms, repair 9,503 existing ones, and buy 1.6 million seats at a cost of P44.6 billion.
“In terms of rooms to be built, this is by far the biggest in history,” Recto said.
The number of textbooks to be procured—42.6 million—will also break the record, he said.
On top of this, 38,351 sets of science and math laboratory equipment will be acquired.
Government is also planning to build 10 library hubs, which Recto described as “book centrals” that will cater to multiple school districts.
Total tab for the new books, science equipment and library hubs is P8.3 billion, Recto said.
These acquisitions, he explained, will be funded out of the P336.9 billion DepEd budget for 2014, an amount 15 percent higher than what the government’s biggest agency is getting this year.
This amount, however, includes allocations for the School Building Fund and Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund.
DepEd’s budget in turn is but one component of the larger “education, culture and manpower” sector which has been allotted P389.5 billion in 2014.
Included in this sector are the allocations for Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) and state universities and colleges which have been earmarked P3.7 and P39.3 billion for next year, respectively.
Recto said education spending of the government “is a combination of catching up with existing backlogs and frontloading for future needs.”
The government’s K to12 program requires huge investments and the budget is amortizing in advance what needs to be bought.
“Previous budgets were downpayments. The 2014 budget is a continuation of the installment plan,” Recto said. PNA