Higher education budget hike ‘not enough-A A +A
Friday, July 20, 2012
STATE universities and colleges will get a 44-percent increase in its budget next year, but a lawmaker said it is still not enough to immediately improve the country's tertiary education.
"A higher budget won't easily reverse the decline of higher education. Years of under investment have weakened capacity of schools," Kabataan party-list Representative Mong Palatino said.
According to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the proposed 2013 budget for SUCs was raised by P11.3 billion to P37.1 billion.
Of the proposed P37.1 billion, P27.3 billion will support Personal Services, which went up by 20.6 percent for the implementation of the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law III to raise the salaries of SUC teachers and staff.
Another P6.4 billion will cover Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE), 114 percent higher than the previous year's MOOE budget. The increase will help bolster institutional improvements, research initiatives, extension services, and the quality of instruction across all SUCs.
Meanwhile, P3.36 billion of the total budget will be used for Capital Outlay (CO) to support the infrastructure needs of state-supported colleges and universities, bringing up the total CO budget for 2013 by more than sixteen times.
In 2011, capital outlay for SUCs received zero allocation.
"It's catch-up budget. We need to know the number of schools which will receive capital outlay. Capital outlay won't lead to overnight transformation," Palatino said.
Aurora Representative Sonny Angara, chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education, meanwhile, called on his colleagues to support the swift passage of the budget for SUCs.
He said one of the reasons of the dismal performance of public colleges and universities today seems to be the lack of consistent funding support from the government.
Angara explained that with adequate financial resources, public tertiary institutions can help spur growth, development and employment in the different regions across the country through their research initiatives, extension services and inventions.
"It's certainly a very good start considering the myriad requirements of state colleges and universities all over the country. In the quest for truly world class standards, there should be no shortcuts and underinvestment in education," he said in a text message.
Deliberations on the 2013 national budget will start on August at the House of Representatives. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)