The Department of Education (DepEd) asked Congress on Tuesday, September 14, for P37 billion in funds to provide public school teachers with the laptops needed to support remote teaching during the pandemic.
"We know how much funds we need. For example, if we will be providing all teachers with the needed laptops considering the existence of laptops that we have now, we still need P33 billion to provide everybody with laptops," said Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said at the House of Representatives' 2022 budget deliberations on Tuesday.
Aside from this, Pascua said that DepEd also needed some P4 billion to support the internet connectivity of the teachers for the next 12 months.
"We have already made several programs, but always at the end of the day, the amount of funds needed for these programs are obviously lacking," he said.
Pascua did not give the details of how many teachers would benefit from the P33 billion. But based on the 2019 data, there were a total of 864,448 public school teachers in the country.
In 2019, the DepEd official said the agency bought 211,000 units of laptops and these had already been distributed to teachers. A total of 36,676 laptops the agency bought in 2020 are currently being delivered.
Meanwhile, for this year, a total of 65,683 laptops are still being procured on top of the 40,000 units that were purchased under Bayanihan 2.
Since the the start of distance learning in October 2020, teachers from public schools have on their own launched donation drives to raise funds for bond paper and printers for the reproduction of learning modules. They have also been calling for gadget support from the government.
On Monday, September 13, classes resumed in the Philippines for school year 2021-2022. The same issues, such as lack of access to technology and poor internet connection, welcomed students and teachers.
The DepEd is seeking for P630 billion budget for 2022 – 6% higher than its P595-billion budget in 2021.