By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – The provincial government of Agusan del Norte is allotting P479.9 million for the improvement of school facilities, especially those in far-flung areas.
At least 338 classrooms for the secondary schools and senior high schools located in various parts of the province need improvement including repairs.
Thirty-seven classrooms were already repaired and rehabilitated at a cost of P11.9 million.
Agusan del Norte Gov. Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba stressed that education remains one of the top priorities under her administration.
“As much as possible we build more school facilities, especially in far-flung communities, because education will improve the living condition of each individual and also address poverty,” the provincial chief executive said.
Her education program also focused on high villagers, especially lumads (natives).
“We build, build, build more infrastructures for more development and progress,” she pointed out, during her recent State of the Province Address (SOPA) here.
Matba also said since the implementation of the K to 12 program, a total of 157 teaching items for the 1st and 2nd batches and 109 for the 3rd batch were allocated in the province having a total of 2,858 teachers in 166 elementary schools and 45 secondary schools.
With the fast-tracking of support to far-flung students by the provincial government, at least 6,000 sets of backpacks containing various school supplies were also distributed to children, while 10,932 day-care children were provided with services such as nutrition and medicines.
Matba also said the Expanded Government Assistance to Students (EGAS) and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) grantees have increased from 4,598 in year 2016-2017 to 5,338 in year 2017-2018.
On the other hand, the Alternative Learning System (ALS), which provides opportunities for dropouts in the elementary and secondary levels, out-of-school youths, and adults who are unable to complete the requirements of basic education, has continued to grow in number as well.
“In 2017, over 80 percent of the total 2,650 enrollees completed the course,” Matba said.
She added that the provincial government was able to employ 657 students under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) and provided scholarships to 250 students under the Provincial Special Education Program (PSESP) and 19 Indigenous People (IP) students under the Indigenous Peoples Scholarship Program.