February 1, 2023

Blended learning comes with a cost – not just to parents, but to schools as well.
On Monday, officials of the Department of Education City Schools Division requested the city council to reprogram the P39 million budget in the Special Education Fund (SEF) intended for the purchase of books, for the printing of learning modules to be distributed to learners who availed of the blended learning modality when classes begin on Oct. 5.
For the printing of 33-page modules, for eight subjects, at 16 modules per week, for around 70,000 learners in elementary to senior high, from October to December alone, DepEd-Baguio Budget Officer Belen Tumin said they need around P250M but the DepEd regional office only allotted P43M.
City Schools Division Superintendent Marie Carolyn Verano said they are expecting the DepEd central office to download more funds but they are uncertain as to when these will be released, hence the request for the city government to reprogram the SEF.
DepEd also asked realignment of some amount from the general fund for the purchase of printers, tablets, and flash drives for teachers.
SEF is allotted by the local government to local school boards.
The city council has deferred acting on the DepEd’s request pending the agency’s submission of how it computed the cost of printing or reproduction and the result of the agency’s resurvey of the preferred learning modality.
The city council said the DepEd’s estimate could still be reduced if schools avail of bulk printing services, where prices could go as low as 35 centavos per page.
The DepEd central office has set the ceiling for printing at 50 centavos per page.
The DepEd was given five days to submit the documents requested by the city council.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto earlier estimated that the Philippines’ education sector needs over P30 billion more in funds to print the self-learning modules to be used by the country’s more than 23 millions learners who will troop back to school this year. – Rimaliza A. Opiña