Senator Win Gatchalian has filed Senate Resolution No. 330 to conduct an inquiry on the electrification of public primary and secondary schools across the country.
A September 2019 data from the Department of Education (DepEd) showed that there were 1,664 public primary and secondary schools nationwide that remain unenergized, affecting a total of 380,529 students.
The lawmaker believes that the complete electrification of public primary and secondary schools in the country will result in the improvement of Filipino students’ performance in schools.
According to the 2014 research conducted by the Institute of Development Studies, the electrification of school resulted in more hours of study since children and adults can read even during the evening. Also, performance indicators of schools and students tended to show direct long-term effects like better educational attainment if their schools are electrified.
A similar 2014 study conducted by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs explained that the provision of electricity to previously unenergized schools have a positive effect on children due to improved comfort and improved education brought about by better lighting.
“Nararapat lamang na busisiing mabuti at pagtuunan ng pansin ng Kongreso ang electrification program ng DepEd upang siguruhin na wala nang estudyanteng magtitiyagang mag-aral sa madilim na silid-aralan sa hinaharap,” said Gatchalian.
For this year, Congress has allocated around ₱2,499,095,000 in DepEd’s budget for the electrification of the 1,162 unenergized schools and modernization of electrical systems of on-grid schools. On the other hand, there are still 502 schools that have not been electrified.
That is why Gatchalian pointed out that it is imperative for Congress to know the status of the DepEd’s school electrification program to determine the necessary legislative intervention for a total electrification of all public primary and secondary schools nationwide.
Currently, the DepEd has an electrification program using appropriations from its Basic Education Facilities Funds. Part of the program includes the upgrading of electrical connections of existing on-grid schools to comply with the electrical requirements.
“We allocated almost P2.5 billion for the electrification of public schools across the country for this year and we owe it to the public to inform them on the status of DepEd’s electrification program, as well as to account every centavo that will be spent on this undertaking,” he added.