Senator Win Gatchalian is eyeing the institutionalized increase of the annual teaching supplies allowance from ₱3,500 to 5,000, a measure that would spare about 840,000 public school teachers from shelling out more money for classroom activities.
While the teaching supplies allowance or ‘chalk allowance’ is provided for annually under the General Appropriations Act (GAA), the lawmaker noted that this budget can either increase or decrease subject to the proposal of Congress and the approval of the President. In the passage of the 2019 budget, the proposed increase of teachers’ chalk allowance was not granted.
“The lack of an institutionalized allocation for teachers’ supplies allowance makes their financial conditions more vulnerable”, Gatchalian said in his co-sponsorship speech of Senate Bill 1092 or the Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2019.
“Naglalabas na nga po sila ng pera mula sa sarili nilang bulsa, wala pang kasiguruhan na magpapatuloy ang suportang natatanggap nila para magkaroon ng sapat na gamit at makapagturo nang maayos,” Gatchalian added.
While the current chalk allowance already saw a significant spike from the seven hundred (₱700) pesos allotted per teacher in 2011, the current ₱3,500 per year allowance means a teacher is only provided a measly ₱16 per school day as allowance for supplies. According to Gatchalian this leaves teachers with no choice but to augment their chalk allowance with their own resources.
The Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2019 that Gatchalian co-sponsored consolidates four Senate bills that aim to increase and institutionalize teachers’ chalk allowance. The bill also mandates a periodic review by the Department of Education (DepEd) for necessary increases in the following years.
Gatchalian hopes that increasing and institutionalizing teachers’ chalk allowance would ease, if not alleviate, their financial woes.
“We tend to forget that teaching supplies are not often tallied like other items on education spending. While this may seem insignificant compared to other issues surrounding our education system, this is no less material to our public school teachers,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian is the chairman of the Basic Education, Arts and Culture Committee at the Senate.