‘7,000 schools still need government support’
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - July 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Even with the supposed improvements in access and quality of education in the country, some 7,000 public schools nationwide still need various forms of government support, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.

Briones, during a recent forum in Cebu, highlighted achievements of the Department of Education (DepEd) in the past three years, citing better figures such as higher participation rate in formal education sector. 

But according to her, there are still challenges that need to be addressed in the second half of the Duterte administration. 

“It is with great honor and privilege that I report to you that in the next three years under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, we will continue to address the remaining gaps and challenges [in education],” she said. 

“During the last three years of President Duterte, we will do something about the 7,000 schools that need support,” she added. 

The schools belong to the so-called “last mile” schools, or those that fail to meet the basic criteria set for learning institutions in the Philippines.

Earlier, Briones issued a memorandum directing various offices in the agency to identify which schools fall under the said category to enable the DepEd to implement programs that would address their needs.

“The DepEd is sustaining the substantial gains in access to education through the provision of adequate facilities, teaching and non-teaching personnel, and learning resources,” read a memorandum. 

After validating the list, Briones said the DepEd will work with various agencies to address the gaps and provide support, including proper facilities such as classrooms, standard school furniture, solar panels for those without access to electricity and a two-story access and climate change emergency storage and shelter.

The DepEd would also provide adequate teaching and learning materials, additional teachers including training and funds for programs such as Gulayan sa Paaralan and School inside a Garden.

The secretary also vowed to provide the “last mile” schools with computer packages, connect them to the DepEd network and internet and get access to learning and administrative systems.

“(These include) access to roads, health concerns of the community, expansion of coverage of school-based feeding program beyond wasted and severely wasted learners, among others,” she said.

LEONOR BRIONES
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