P3B eyed to bring electricity to 7,000 public schools
MANILA, Philippines – More than 7,000 public schools nationwide will finally have electricity if the nearly P3-billion budget for a program of the Department of Education (DepEd) would be approved.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said the ninefold increase in the DepEd's budget for the "electrification of on-grid schools" is "a crucial step" in bringing 7,413 schools "out of the dark ages." One in 6 public elementary and high schools is not connected to a power grid, added Recto, citing data released in 2015.
Of the more than 7,000, Recto said 5,911 schools have no access "to a single watt of electricity" while some 1,492 upland and island schools make do with solar panels or generator sets.
"Almost half a century after man first walked on the moon, millions of students still go to schools without electricity in this corner of the earth," the senator said.
Recto also pointed out that schools without a reliable energy source would be left out of the DepEd's program to computerize classrooms.
"Wi-Fi, tablets, computers – they have to be plugged into a power source," he said.
Recto urged the DepEd to spend its electrification fund on time, noting that various education projects have been delayed. These include the delivery of math, science, and computer equipment, as well as the completion of water and toilet facilities.
As for schools that are far from power grids, the senator said the government has no option but to provide them with solar panels. This should be not an issue, he said, as solar panels are now cheaper.
"The boom in solar panel production has caused prices to fall, so there is no longer any excuse not to tap this clean energy," he said. (READ: Education, infra to get bulk of proposed 2018 nat'l budget) – Rappler.com
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