DBM releases P5.7-B for GASTPE scholarship

March 14, 2011 10:00 pm 

MANILA, March 14 — The Department of Budget and Management has released P5.769 billion to the Department of Education (DepEd) for its Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) program, to benefit 910,902 poor yet deserving students across the country.

“Education is the central strategy of the Aquino administration for investing in the people and enhancing their opportunity to gain meaningful employment,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said.

“GASTPE is one of the innovative programs of government that seeks to improve access of Filipino children to education. This program alleviates our need to build more classrooms or hire more teachers,” he added.

GASTPE is a program implemented by the DepEd that aims to decongest public high schools by subsidizing the transfer of public high school students to private schools that have the capacity to absorb more students.

The existing subsidy rates under GATSPE are:

* Tuition fee subsidy: P10,000 annually per student-grantee in the National Capital Region (NCR) and P5,000 annually for grantees outside NCR;

* For teacher salary: P250 monthly per grantee for qualified private school teachers

DBM has also released P146.13 million to the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the construction and repair of school buildings.

Abad said the fund release is charged against the 2010 DepEd’s School Building Program amounting to P2 billion. He added that fund was released upon the instruction of the President. This will benefit students in 84 elementary and 29 secondary schools in the country.

“Hindi matiis ni Pangulong Aquino na marami sa ating mga mag-aaral ang nagsisiksikan sa maliit na silid na tila sardines sa lata (President Aquino cannot stand the fact that many of our students are packed in classrooms, like sardines in can),” he said.

The reform advocate further said that agencies such as the DBM, DepEd and the Department of Interior and Local Government have been in constant search for innovative ways to fast-track the construction of education facilities. For one, these Departments have inked Memoranda of Agreement with local government in co-financing school building projects.

For 2011, the national government allocated P207.3 billion budget for DeEd, the biggest in a decade. Of that amount, a P1-billion lump sum is allotted for the School Building Program; and P11.3 billion is also allotted for schoolhouse construction and maintenance. For GASTPE, a total of 5.829 billion has been allocated in the national budget. (PNA) DCT/MPC

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