Amid the celebration of the local government week this second week of October, Senator Win Gatchalian pushes anew his proposal to strengthen the involvement of local government units (LGUs) in improving the delivery and quality of education.
Gatchalian, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, made this proposal in the 21st Century School Boards Act (Senate Bill No. 155), where he sought to expand the local school board and its responsibilities to include the formulation of policies focusing on quality of education.
The senator also seeks to expand the utilization of the Special Education Fund (SEF) to support the local school board in its expanded role. Under the Local Government Code (Republic Act No. 7160), the SEF is allotted to the local school boards for the operation and maintenance of public schools and construction and repair of school buildings.
Gatchalian, a former three-term mayor of Valenzuela City who championed education reforms, emphasized that local government units have greater agility to respond to challenges on the ground.
“Dahil mas malapit ang mga LGU sa ating mga kababayan at mas nauunawaan nila ang mga agarang pangangailangan pagdating sa edukasyon, isinusulong natin ang pagpapalawak ng responsibilidad ng ating mga local school board. Kung maisabatas ang ating panukala, magiging katuwang natin ang bawat LGU sa pag-angat sa kalidad ng edukasyon,” said Gatchalian.
Under Gatchalian’s proposal, the expanded local school board will be mandated to introduce programs whose success indicators will include, among others, the participation rate of students, number of dropouts and out-of-school youth, achievement scores measured by national tests or assessment tools, establishment of child development centers, support to special needs education, the Alternative Learning System (ALS), and the parent effectiveness service program.
Gatchalian also proposes to expand the use of the SEF to include salaries of teachers and non-teaching personnel in public schools, salaries of preschool teachers, capital outlay for pre-schools, operation and maintenance of ALS programs, teachers’ and non-teaching personnel and honorarium and allowances for additional services rendered outside of regular school hours, among others.
The lawmaker also filed other measures that seek to expand the role of LGUs when it comes to education. The Basic Education and Early Childhood Education Alignment Act (Senate Bill No. 2029), for instance, seeks to impose greater responsibilities on LGUs on the implementation of early childhood care and development programs.