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GATCHALIAN TO DEPED: PRIORITIZE COMPUTERIZATION

The Department of Education (DepEd) is set to receive a 94% budget hike for its Computerization Program (DCP) under fiscal year 2022.

For Senator Win Gatchalian, however, the education department should ensure that funds are properly used to procure and provide computers for the country’s public schools.

For 2019 and 2020, DepEd was only able to disburse 27% of its available appropriations under the DCP.

Under the 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP), the DCP is set to receive P11.65 billion.

For Fiscal Year 2021, the program has an allocation of P6 billion.

“Proper spending of the program’s funds is needed to ensure learning continuity through digital methods.”

While Gatchalian supports the budget hike, he emphasized that proper spending of the program’s funds is needed to ensure learning continuity through digital methods.

“Looking at the past experience of the department in terms of dispensing the budget on computerization, I’ve noted that it has some issues in terms of obligations and disbursement,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

According to the 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report on DepEd, only 7,555 or 16.29% out of the targeted 38,827 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) packages were delivered as of year-end 2020.

These ICT packages were funded under the DCP by the General Appropriations Acts for Fiscal Years 2018-2020.

The COA also flagged delays in the delivery of DCP packages for Fiscal Year 2020, which ranged from 60-317 calendar days.

The approved budget for the contract (ABC) for these packages was P2.37 billion.

State auditors noted that these delays adversely affected the program’s objectives of enhancing the teaching-learning process and raising the ICT literacy of learners and educators.

In 2019, state auditors flagged supplier woes and the readiness of schools to receive ICT packages.

Some schools were not ready to receive the packages because they lacked multi-media or computer rooms, proper electrical groundings, wirings and circuit breakers, and window grills.

ICT coordinators also reported how some suppliers did not provide after-sales services.

Some of them could no longer be reached through their contact details, making it possible for them to escape liability.

“We really have to pay attention to the suppliers.”

“We really have to pay attention to the suppliers if they can supply honestly because with P11 billion, your (DepEd’s) hands will be full in terms of procuring all these equipment,” the veteran legislator said.

The seasoned lawmaker is also filing a bill that will accelerate the digital transformation of the education sector.

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