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Now, 'only' 4 Pupils Will Share Books

January 19, 2000 · 

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Published in Today (January 19, 2000) 

EDUCATION officials call this good news, but for millions of public elementary pupils and high-school students, sharing a book with four classmates instead of eight is still a miserable situation.

Education Secretary Andrew Gonzalez announced yesterday that after getting rid of graft and corruption in the textbook acquisition process, his agency has improved the student to textbook ratio to 1:4 for both elementary and high.school, from the previous 1:6 for elementary pupils and 1:8 for high-school students.

He said the department, in its technical report to the Presidential Management Staff, cited the aggressive efforts to improve the pupil-textbook ratio and expand poor students’ access to basic education.

“The department reduced by 40 percent the acquisition cost of textbooks by instituting a reform package which ensured a cost-effective textbook procurement system nationwide,” Gonzalez said.

He also issued a moratorium on the procurement of nontextbook materials which include encyclopedia, dictionaries and other educational magazines, supplementary and instructional materials to raise additional funds to buy basic textbooks.

The department earlier instituted reforms in the acquisition of textbooks by dealing directly with textbook suppliers instead of middlemen to prevent graft and corruption.

Gonzalez said the department learned its lessons from the controversial textbook scam last year, where textbook dealer Mary Ann Maslog allegedly tried to bribe budget officials with P3 million in exchange for the release of funds for the books she sold to the department.

Gonzalez said the department gave priority last year to the purchase of textbooks on five academic subjects only, namely English, Filipino, Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies), Mathematics and Science.

The education department also mobilized local governments to tap existing school board funds for textbook requirements.

By ESTRELLA TORRES
Reporter

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