While the Department of Education (DepEd) eyes home-based learning even when the pandemic is over, Senator Win Gatchalian says increasing teaching supplies allowance would give teachers relief on expenses related to distance learning.
In an interview, DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said that he believes home-based learning will still be an option for learners who would prefer to continue schooling at home and report to school on a limited number of days.
Gatchalian is co-author and co-sponsor of Senate Bill Number 1092 or the ‘Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2020.’ Under the proposed measure, teachers will receive a teaching supplies allowance worth P10,000 starting SY 2024-2025. For SY 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, each teacher will receive a teaching supplies allowance worth P5,000. For SY 2023-2024, teachers will receive P7,500.
This allowance will be used for the purchase of teaching supplies and materials for the implementation of various learning delivery modalities. It will also be exempted from income tax. The Senate approved the proposed measure on third reading last November.
To support teachers amid the continued implementation of distance learning, DepEd said it is set to distribute three months’ worth of connectivity load to teachers by June 2021. DepEd Undersecretary Alain Del Pascua said that it has started the procurement process to provide public school teachers with 30 to 35 GB data allocation per month.
The 35 GB data allocation is deemed adequate for teachers’ online teaching activities since the 1GB bandwidth can be used for eight hours of online webinars, downloading, and watching videos among different online activities, Pascua said. The unused data allocation will also be rolled over to the following months up to one year until the teacher fully consumes 100GB.
To sustain teachers’ support in the implementation of home-based learning even beyond the three month-provision of connectivity load, Gatchalian said that the grant of teaching supplies allowance should be institutionalized.
“Ang panukala nating pagtaas ng teaching supplies allowance ay pagbibigay ng suporta at pagkilala sa sakripisyo ng mga guro, lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya. Kailangang pagsikapan nating maibsan ang pasaning pinansyal ng mga guro upang maturuan nang husto ang kanilang mga mag-aaral,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
In 2019, Gatchalian also filed Senate Bill No. 365 or the Prepaid Load Forever Act of 2019, which seeks to prohibit the expiration of prepaid load credits.