Science equipment for Grades 1 and 2?
THE TABLE here shows the breakdown of five invitations to bid published by the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Inquirer on three different dates (a period of nine months from October 2015 to July 2016) for the mass production, supply and delivery of science and mathematics equipment packages to assorted public schools:
Oct. 25, 2015 P1,164,173, 247.84 Grades 1 to 3
Oct. 25, 2015 P1,716, 451,738.67 Grades 4 to 6
June 16, 2016 P433,801,213.03 Grades 4 to 6
July 31, 2016 P391,404,717.01 Grades 4 to 6
July 31, 2016 P2,400,340,242. 21 Grades 11 and 12
TOTAL P 6,106,171,158.76
Why did the DepEd purchase P1.2 billion worth of science equipment for Grades 1 to 3 when science subjects are not taught in Grades 1 and 2 in public elementary schools? What science equipment do the Grade 3 pupils need when science as a subject is just then being introduced in Grade 3 ( i.e., parts of the body, animals and plants, etc.)?
Why is the Grade 12 included in the P2.4-billion contract when Grade 12 is not yet implemented this school year? While Grade 11 is being implemented this year, not all public secondary schools teach Grade 11. How many of the 3,490 public senior high schools listed in the July 31, 2016, invitation to bid are actually teaching Grade 11 students? And out of these, how many are offering the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) strand?
The total price of the five contracts is a mind-boggling P6.1 billion. This gargantuan amount does not yet include Grades 7 to 10. The clear implication is that the DepEd will certainly be asking for more funds in the coming days for the purchase of science equipment for the Grades 7 to 10 junior high school students! How much more will be added to the P6.1 billion, an amount much, much more than the P2.8 billion cost of the Makati Parking Building II for which the Binays of Makati are in deep water?
How will any entity be able to monitor and check the delivery and distribution of P6.1 billion worth of science equipment that, being by nature generally small items, would be very difficult to count, account for, distribute, or keep? What particular schools get to receive which particular equipment? There are no specifications pertaining to the equipment in all of the five contracts.
The proposed budget of the DepEd is currently under consideration. It would do well for Congress to take note of these five DepEd contracts as it deliberates on and determines how much of what the DepEd is asking for (P568 billion) should be given. Is the P6.1 billion that the DepEd spent on science equipment just one item among thousands of other items being purchased by it not irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable misuse and abuse of government funds, resources and properties?
ANTONIO CALIPJO GO, academic supervisor, Marian School of Quezon City
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