Youth solon backs call for higher chalk allowance, basic education budget

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PHOTO BY BICOLTODAY.COM

Joining calls for an increase in the chalk allowance of public school teachers on today’s House plenary debates on the budget of the Department of Education (DepEd), Kabataan Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino said that an education budget with insufficient funds for chalk and other supplies would make it hard for public school teachers to equip students with proper instruction.

“How can our teachers properly hone our students to become intelligent and responsible members of our society if something as basic as a chalk fund is not sufficiently provided by the government? Kawawa na nga ang ating mga guro dahil sa kakarampot na sahod, sila pa ngayon ang inaashan ng punan ang kakulangan sa chalk at iba pang pangangailangan sa pagtuturo,” Palatino said.

In the proposed 2012 national budget, public school teachers are given a mere P700 yearly allowance for chalk – an amount which Palatino said is not enough considering the growing needs of the basic education sector for instructional materials and supplies.

Last February 7, Palatino co-authored House Bill no. 4134 filed by ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio seeking an increase for the yearly chalk allowance of public school teachers from P700 to P2,000.

Palatino said that the youth are one with the the call of public school teachers on today’s “National Chalk Holiday” which aims to raise awareness on the plight of public school teachers and the insufficiency of the basic education budget.

Palatino said that even with the P238.8 billion budget for basic education, shortages still haunt the country’s public elementary and high schools. He added that at least P115 billion is still needed to alleviate the problem of shortages and lack of supplies in our public schools.

“President Aquino wants to gain our trust and confidence in his plan to add two more years in basic education. Any reasonable individual will find it hard to agree with the plan if the government will refuse to properly address shortages in basic education including that humble teaching tool we have come to know as chalk. If the Aquino government cannot grant the just demand of our teachers for an additional chalk allowance, how can we be convinced with his K-12 plan?” Palatino said.

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