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On DepEd's claim of 300k+ laptops, teachers ask: Nasaan?

By Alliance of Concerned Teachers
September 19, 2021

QUEZON CITY – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) questioned the claims made by the Department of Education (DepEd) on the number of laptops distributed to public school teachers during its budget hearing in the House of Representatives. Undersecretary Pascua announced a total of 353,359 laptop procured and provided to teachers through budget allocations from 2019 up to the Bayanihan 2, which does not align with ACT’s survey findings that indicate only 7% of teachers from NCR and 14% from other regions will be using DepEd-issued laptops for school year 2021-2022. The said survey ran from August 23-31, 2021.

laptops for teachers“According to DepEd’s claims, about 34% of public school teachers should by now be using DepEd-issued laptops, but that is far from the truth as noted by teachers themselves. So we ask DepEd, in the spirit of transparency, where are these laptops and are they serving the purpose of aiding teachers in distance learning? We’re afraid that without such honest accounting, we won’t be able to truly determine how much more laptops should be budgeted,” argued ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

ACT further questioned the 211,000 laptops purchased in 2019 as these were not reflected in the 2019 DepEd budget. The group argued that Usec. Pascua was more likely referring to the total number of laptops the agency has acquired in previous years – many of which are no longer serviceable or had specs that does not meet the requirements of distance learning. The remaining ‘relatively new and more serviceable’ laptops from 2020-present will then come to only 142,359 units, leaving 693,585 teachers still without a DepEd-issued laptop.

“DepEd therefore still has an about 83% backlog in laptop provision. That is, if we assume that all 142,359 will go to teachers, but even that isn’t quite accurate as the recent DepEd memo on the distribution of the Bayanihan 2-funded laptops shows that a sizable portion will go to offices rather than to classroom teachers. As such, Usec. Pascua’s claims on their laptop provision for about 42% of teachers now becomes suspect at best, an outright lie at worst,” hit Basilio.

He further asked about the “bloated” P33-B figure which Pascua dropped during the hearing. This will supposedly ensure the provision of laptops to “all teachers” or to the remaining 482,585 teachers who were not covered by their claimed 353,359 laptops. The group argued that a decent laptop only amounts to about P25,000 which is more or less the cost of laptops that were recently distributed to some teachers. Therefore, to cover DepEd’s actual backlog of 693,585 teachers, it only needs Php17.4-B – nearly half of what DepEd claimed it needed.

“Perhaps Usec. Pascua can explain where their bloated figure came from. Their ballpark figure of P33-B is almost double our estimate of P17.4-B for greater number of teachers compared to how many they intended to cover. We likewise urge our legislators to look into these computations as they tackle DepEd’s 2022 budget in the coming days,” called Basilio.