MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education (DepEd) is tapping
municipalities across the country to share in the responsibility of
building additional classrooms in their localities.
Hoping to solve the nationwide shortage of over 152,000 classrooms,
the DepEd signed a memorandum of agreement with the League of
Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) and the Department of Budget and
Management on Monday.
Under the agreement, the LMP would encourage its 1,500
member-municipalities to participate in the DepEd’s counterparting
program, under which the initial 50 percent of a school building’s cost
would be shouldered by the local government.
The DepEd would release its 50-percent share or counterpart fund once construction is halfway through.
The LMP will also urge its members to pass ordinances or resolutions
voluntarily committing a portion of their special education fund, local
development fund, internal revenue allotment and other sources to come
up with their 50-percent counterpart fund for the building project.
“Before, only the DepEd was tasked with school construction while
some agencies offered their support. But now we are glad other sectors
are taking responsibility,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said.
Early in January, the DepEd inked an agreement with the League of
Cities of the Philippines to encourage city governments to share equally
in the cost of building classrooms.
Through the agreements, Luistro also hopes to standardize classroom
size, explaining that many classrooms built previously did not conform
to the DepEd’s prescribed room size of 7 by 9 meters.
“There were classrooms different from our standards… we have also seen some classrooms left unfinished,” Luistro said.
Luistro is confident that through the 50-50 approach, the DepEd would be able to close the classroom gap in two years.
Apart from local governments, the DepEd will look to
build-operate-transfer projects, foreign grants and corporate
foundations to complete the classroom project, he said.
Source: Inquirer.net, Niña Calleja, 02-01-2011