The Department of Education (DepEd) will come up with a new basic education curriculum in two to three years, after the ongoing review of the K to 12 Basic Education program, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio said Wednesday.
At a budget hearing for her department and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in the House of Representatives, Duterte-Carpio said the review of K to 10 has been completed, while work continues on Grade 11-12.
\“It will take two to three years for us to implement a new curriculum for the K to 12… I am trying to push the curriculum and instruction strand to do it in one year. We will update you on that if we will be able to implement a new curriculum in a year or two,” she told lawmakers.
The House appropriations committee swiftly approved the OVP’s proposed P2.3 billion budget for 2023, ending the hearing in under 13 minutes, with no questions asked.
House Minority Leader and 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan said that while some opposition lawmakers wanted to pose some questions on the budget, these would be asked in the plenary session as a “courtesy to the Office of the Vice President.”
Panel chairman Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co said he fully supports the proposed P2.31 billion budget of the OVP for next year, the bulk of which will go toward good governance, projects, and social services.
The committee also backed the 12 percent increase in the proposed 2023 budget for the DepEd, from P633 billion this year to P710 billion next year.
Speaker Martin Romualdez thanked Duterte-Carpio for showing up before the House appropriations hearing to defend the budget of the OVP and the DepEd.
Co noted that in less than 100 days, the OVP has launched programs on burial assistance, medical assistance and free bus rides.
“Days from assuming office, the OVP has been very active. Within that short period, various satellite offices have been established all over the country which enabled the government to expand the reach of its social services,” Co said.
Co also congratulated Duterte-Carpio and the entire DepEd team for the successful resumption of face-to-face classes after two years of online classes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the hearing, Duterte-Carpio defended the P650 million total in confidential funds for the OVP and DepEd.
“The OVP and the DepEd are two separate entities with separate mandates. The success of the programs, activities and projects [of an agency] depends on very good intelligence [reports] and surveillance because you want to target specific issues and challenges,” Duterte-Carpio told the committee during her presentation of the proposed P710 billion DepEd budget.
She added the confidential fund for the DepEd is “essential to address problems of the education sector.”
Duterte-Carpio made the statement in response to a query from House Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list group on why the OVP needed a P500 million confidential fund, and the DepEd, P150 million.
Brosas also complained about unfunded programs in DepEd such as the construction of some 167,000 classrooms and repairs of at least 149,000 classrooms.
Duterte-Carpio said the classroom shortage could not be solved because the government fails to give sufficient funds while the number of learners continues to increase yearly.
“I described our classroom shortage as a situation of a quicksand, where due to the meager budget given to classroom construction annually we cannot even address the requirements due to enrollment increase and shortage that keeps piling up year in and year out,” Duterte-Carpio said.
She said the country must be innovative in dealing with the classroom shortage, noting that learning can be done outside of the classroom.
Duterte-Carpio, who had been adamant about complete face-to-face classes by October, said the administration will invest in “flexible learning.”
“We would like to present to you our plans for the succeeding years… and that is to invest heavily in flexible learning options. Of course, we will still pursue the building of classrooms… but we will innovate and look for other solutions,” Duterte-Carpio said.
She said the country needs to think outside the box when it comes to education.