By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) said that the number of school dropouts who come back to school has been steadily increasing due to the implementation of the K to 12 Program.
“A positive trend that we would like to note is that the K to 12 enrollment data points to the attraction of school dropouts to come back to school, contrary to the initial prediction of those who oppose the K to 12 that the introduction of the two years of senior high school will cause a further dropping out of our learners,” said DepEd Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Nepomuceno Malaluan.
The report was made when DepEd reported its performance and expenditures during the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures recently sponsored by the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Basic Education and Culture at the House of Representatives.
“Since we started senior high school in 2016, there has been a doubling of those who have returned to school, from the 2015 figure of 158,000 learners to 370,000 learners in 2016,” Malaluan explained.
Chaired by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and San Jose Del Monte City Representative Florida Robes, the meeting specifically aimed to assess the performance and expenditures of DepEd from Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 to the first quarter of 2019.
The meeting also covered the DepEd’s FY 2020 budget proposal.
Report on public school system
Malaluan presented a brief situationer on the public school system, highlighting the total number of public and private schools nationwide, enrollment data, dropout and participation rates, inputs delivery, teacher to learner ratio, classroom to learner ratio, and the provision of support to learners for FYs 2016 to 2018.
When it comes to the priority directions for FY 2020 to 2022, Malaluan shared that DepEd’s goals are to address remaining access gaps, pivot from access to quality, and modernize education management and governance.
“DepEd is looking to pivot from focusing on access to education to quality of education,” Malaluan said. Like other countries in the region, he noted that DepEd is “now looking to entrench quality learning through three important steps: by aligning competencies and curriculum standards, instruction, and assessment; by developing outstanding teachers and school leaders; and by ensuring that students come to school ready to learn.”
Malaluan noted that DepEd’s initiative on the last mile schools program, enhancement of the Alternative Learning System (ALS), establishment of schools in barangays without elementary schools and in areas with limited secondary schools, and continuing of the school-based feeding program are ongoing access interventions undertaken by the department.
Under the directions of Secretary Leonor Briones, Malaluan said that the review of the curriculum is in place in terms of interventions for quality. When it comes to upgrading professional development of teachers and school leaders, he noted that DepEd is “now embarking on the transformation” of our National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP).
“We are institutionalizing government-industry-education sector coordination and partnership and we will continue to improve the teaching and learning environment at the school level,” Malaluan said.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary for Finance Service and Education Programs Delivery Unit Annalyn Sevilla also discussed the 2016 to 2018 status of funds of major programs, activities, and projects particularly on textbooks, Science and Math equipment, Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL) Education, computerization, and school building programs.
Sevilla pointed out that Personnel Services for “our teachers comprise the highest proportion of 2018 and 2019 funds, but substantial investments are allotted for programs and infrastructure.”