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DepED assures tutors of P1,000 chalk allowance by next year.

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) guaranteed yesterday that the teachers’ chalk allowance would be raised to P1,000 by next year.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro made the announcement in response to protest of public school teachers and teachers groups that complained against insufficient chalk and instructional materials allowance. He, however, clarifi ed that said was not included in the 2012 national budget. “We requested for budget realignment to the Department of Budget and Management and the Congress in order to have that increase and we are confident that it will be considered,” Luistro said in an official statement.

From P700 this year, annual allocation of chalk allowance would be raised to P1,000 starting next year.

Yesterday, many public school students nationwide were clueless why their blackboards were left unused while their teachers continue to conduct their regular classes.

Mark Guevarra, a public high school student in Manila, wondered why some of their teachers did not use chalk while conducting their classes. “Ewan ko. Baka nagtitipid sila o walang pambili. (I don’t know. Maybe they are saving their money or they don’t have money to spend),” he said.

Militant group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) called for a “chalk holiday” yesterday.

ACT said organizing the “chalk holiday” is a way of calling the attention of government to prioritize the welfare of teachers. The protest coincided with the date when the lawmakers debate on the budget of several agencies, including the DepEd, in the House of Representatives.

ACT Secretary-General France Castro said the government must give more priority to teachers and also give substance to the forthcoming World Teachers Day on October 5.

“This is our way of challenging the administration to find ways of investing more in the country’s teaching force,” she said.

ACT is pushing for the P2,000 chalk and instructional materials allowance for public school teachers and a higher allocation in the 2012 government budget appropriations.

Currently, the annual chalk allowance is pegged at P700 a year which is usually given at the start of the school year. However, reports said that in some schools, particularly in far-flung areas, the delivery of chalk allowance is usually delayed.

Castro said the current chalk allowance is not enough, saying that a box of chalk roughly costs P60 or P1 per piece.

“With P700 or P3.50 per school day, it is not enough to purchase chalk or school supplies like Manila paper among others for their classes,” she explained. With the proposed P2,000 chalk allowance, teachers will have P9.85 per day to spend in buying chalk and other materials needed for instruction.