Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Sunday urged the government to increase public school teachers’ “chalk allowance” from PHP1,500 to PHP5,000 annually.
Chalk allowance is term for the allowance given to teachers at the start of the school year to buy necessary teaching tools such as chalk, pens, erasers, paper and other school supplies.
Under Senate Bill No. (SBN) 812, Recto seeks to institutionalize periodic increases in the Teaching Supplies Allowance.
The measure tasks the Secretary of Education to conduct a periodic review of the Teaching Supplies Allowance, and, if warranted, recommend the necessary increase in the amount of the allowance.
Recto said that the current chalk allowance us insufficient in assisting classroom teachers in class discussions in the country’s 21 million public school students.
He said that because the 2017 national budget retains the amount, a raise would allow teachers to purchase a computer and digital supplies such as flash disks and even an occasional ‘load’ for online research.
“If teachers are the frontliners in the war against illiteracy, then they must be given enough supplies to perform their mission,” Recto said.
He further said the PHP1.1 billion chalk allowance allocation for 770,656 classroom teachers accounts for one-fifth of one percent of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) proposed PHP566.2 billion budget for 2017.
Increasing a teacher’s chalk allowance to PHP5,000 would require an additional PHP2.7 billion, Recto said.
The senator explained that it was affordable since the total allocation of PHP3.8 billion will just be two-thirds of one percent of the DepEd budget.
While Recto had pegged a PHP3,000 floor amount for the chalk allowance in the bill, he said that a review of the education budget for 2017 justifies “the necessity and feasibility” of raising it to PHP5,000.
To recall, that the current PHP1,500 chalk allowance was the result of the joint amendment in the 2015 national budget by Recto and then Senate finance committee chair Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero. (PNA)