MANILA Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called for the inclusion of the Department of Education's (DepEd) Last Mile Schools program in the administration's Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.
Gatchalian, who is the presumptive chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education and Culture, said some PHP92 billion is needed to fund the construction and improvement of about 8,000 Last Mile schools over the next three years.
He noted that it was just a "paltry amount" compared to the original PHP8.4 trillion cost of the Build, Build, Build program.
The Last Mile Schools program aims to provide students living in Geographically Isolated, Disadvantaged and Con?ict-Affected (GIDCA) areas with unhampered and equal access to quality basic education.
Access to quality basic education is the right of every Filipino and I am glad that the DepEd, under the leadership of Secretary Briones, is giving priority to the schools that have otherwise been neglected or fallen behind their urban counterparts, Gatchalian said.
But in order for the program to succeed, mukhang kailangan nating mag-infuse dito ng malawakang suporta, and one way to do this is to have the Last Mile Schools program become part of the Build, Build, Build program, he added.
Last Mile Schools are schools that have multi-grade classes, with less than ?ve teachers, and a student population of fewer than 100 learners, more than 75 percent of which are usually indigenous people.
They lack complete sets of school furniture, no computers, no internet connection, very few textbooks, and manuals, and lacking laboratory tools and equipment.
"Given that the DepEd has already pledged to prioritize the Last Miles Schools program and also given that DepEd is already working with the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) to open access roads for the convenience of the students, I see no reason why the program should not be part and parcel of Build, Build, Build, Gatchalian said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency