MANILA, Philippines—With the largest budget increase in recent years,
the Department of Education (DepEd) is focusing next year on developing
the public kindergarten program for 5-year-olds to better prepare the
new schoolers for basic education.
The DepEd will start 2011 with a P207-billion budget, the largest in
the bureaucracy, with an increase of almost a fifth of the current
year’s P175-billion outlay. Of that amount, 79 percent will go to the
compensation of the agency’s army of half a million teachers.
“This represents the biggest increase in years in our annual budget
at close to 19 percent compared to [this] year’s,” Education Secretary
Armin Luistro on Monday told the Inquirer.
He said the DepEd would focus on developing the public kindergarten
system, part of government efforts to attain the global goal of
providing universal access to basic education by 2016.
“For the first quarter of 2011, we will focus on providing for universal kindergarten facilities for 5-year-olds,” Luistro said.
Boosting the kindergarten system is the backbone of the DepEd’s K+12
(kindergarten plus 12 years) program, a proposal to extend the 10-year
basic education cycle by two years to produce better qualified
The DepEd aims to reach out to as many 5-year-olds as possible in the
coming school year, with the pre-registration for new students opening
in January. It has noted that most Grade 1 entrants are ill-prepared and
enter school late at age 7.
Some 880,000 students were enrolled in public preschool programs this year, roughly 81 percent of the target population.
Luistro said the DepEd would also work more closely with the private
sector to build up its resources for the public basic education system,
long plagued by the problem of shortages in classrooms, teachers and
Source: Inquirer.net, Tarra Quismundo, 12-28-2010