NEWLY designated Education Secretary Mona Valisno formally assumed office Monday following a simple turnover ceremony at Department of Education (DepEd) Complex’s Bulwagan ng Karunungan in Pasig City.

Outgoing Education Secretary Jesli Lapus led DepEd officials and employees as he formally turned over his post to Valisno.

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President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo named Valisno as the new education secretary after naming Lapus as the new Trade secretary replacing Peter Favila, who was appointed to the Monetary Board, the highest policy making body of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The latest reshuffle of government officials under the Arroyo administration came after a number of cabinet secretaries resigned from their post to run in the coming May 2010 elections.

Lapus, in his speech, expressed gratitude with DepEd officials and education stakeholders in support of his administration.

Lapus took over as education secretary in 2006 replacing then education secretary Fe Hidalgo.

Under his watch DepEd gained the 62 percent public approval and was listed as among the least corrupt government agency. He also earned honors as number one top performing Cabinet official of Arroyo administration.

It was under Lapus’s watch that bigger budget in education was extended from P121.5 billion in 2006 to close to P170 billion for this year.

Lapus also introduced the administration of National Career Achievement Examination (NCAE) for graduating high school students replacing the defunct National College Entrance Examination (NCEE).

Likewise, he institutionalized the connection of Internet in all public schools in the country as well as the integration of pre-school level in the basic public school system of the country.

Lapus re-launched DepEd’s Adopt-A-School Program (ASP), which generated some P7.3 Billion worth of commitments from private sector in 2009 to help and assist the public schools across the country. (AH/Sunnex)