By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is pushing for the increase of the “chalk allowance” of public school teachers to P10,000 per year.
The Senate leader recently filed a bill that would raise the teaching supplies allowance by 300 percent.
In filing the measure, Recto said the annual teaching supplies allowance, presently at P3,500, won’t buy teachers enough classroom supplies that will last for a year.
“This translates into a measly P16 a day,” Recto said. “This is not enough in this age of internet when USBs, in addition to the traditional paper and writing materials, are now part of the teacher’s tool box.”
“‘Chalk allowance’ is to teachers as what bullets are to soldiers. And those waging the war against illiteracy need more of this ammo. Because at present, all of them dip into their meager salaries to buy the supplies they need for teaching,” he pointed out.
This year, the Department of Education (DepEd) was allotted P2.9 billion for chalk allowance, which is only about P0.50 per student per day.
“Kulang talaga. Especially in this digital age, when IT-assisted learning is the norm, there are computer-and broadband-use related supplies needed, and these must be considered in computing the supplies the teacher needs,” Recto added.
He said raising the teaching allowance to P10,000, as proposed, will require an additional P5.4 billion in the DepEd’s annual budget for the item.
But he said the amount is still “affordable” compared to the P17.2 billion travel expenses for the national government.
Recto is confident that his bill will be approved in Senate. He said it can be passed as a separate measure, or be incorporated into the national budget.
“The Senate has a good record in providing additional funds for chalk allowance,” he said.
Other 18th Congress senators have also filed a bill increasing the teachers’ salaries and chalk allowance.