As Vice President and Secretary of Education Sara Duterte urges local government units (LGUs) to prioritize investments in education, Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing his proposal to expand the roles of the local school board.
Gatchalian last year filed Senate Bill No. 155 or the 21st Century School Boards Act, which seeks to empower the local school board to involve other education stakeholders and relevant actors in the community. Under the proposed measure, the local school board will be mandated to include the formulation of policies on improving both the delivery and quality of basic education.
The success indicators of these policies and programs will include 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 (PES) program.
Gatchalian also proposes that local school boards be responsible for the introduction of timely, organized, and localized interventions in the delivery of basic education in times of calamities, disasters, and other emergencies causing school disruptions.
“Sa pagbangon ng sektor ng edukasyon mula sa krisis na ating kinakaharap, mahalaga ang papel ng ating mga local government unit lalo na’t mas malapit sila sa ating mga kababayan. Kaya naman isinusulong natin ang pagpapatatag sa ating mga local school board upang mapalawak natin ang papel ng mga komunidad sa paghahatid ng dekalidad na edukasyon,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
The measure also broadens the use of the Special Education Fund (SEF), which is sourced from the additional one percent tax on real property. Under the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160), the SEF is allotted to the local school boards to operate and maintain public schools and construct and repair school buildings.
Under Gatchalian’s proposal, the SEF may be used for the salaries of teachers and non-teaching personnel assigned to public elementary and secondary schools, salaries of preschool teachers, and teachers’ and non-teaching personnel’s honoraria and allowances for additional services rendered outside of regular school hours The proposed expanded use of the SEF will also cover capital outlay for pre-schools, and the operation and maintenance of ALS programs, among others.