To help schools prepare for a safe reopening this coming school year, Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking more flexibility on the use of the Special Education Fund allotted to local school boards.
According to Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, giving local school boards more leeway on the use of the SEF will provide much-needed additional resources to protect learners, teachers, and school personnel from the threat of COVID-19.
Under Section 4 of the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act (Republic Act No. 11469), Gatchalian said the President can authorize the expanded use of SEF as part of his power to adopt temporary emergency measures.
While the Department of Budget and Management has yet to issue guidelines on how the SEF may be used for schools’ COVID-19 response, he proposed that these funds be used as additional funding for localized testing of teachers, learners, and personnel. Macon Ramos-Araneta
The Department of Education is still in the process of realigning its own budget to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, the need to invest on information and communications technology devices in the absence of face-to-face interaction.