COA flags DepEd over low spending for learning tools

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 24) — State auditors questioned the Department of Education (DepEd) for not spending enough on much needed learning tools and equipment (LTE), particularly for science, mathematics, and technical-vocational livelihood (TVL) subjects.

In its audit of the DepEd’s 2022 budget posted on Thursday, the COA noted a 14.54% obligation rate and 37.51% disbursement rate for LTE.

“Recipient public schools were not timely provided with the necessary LTE, thus foregoing the opportunity to maximize the enhancement of the quality of teaching and learning on Science, Mathematics, and TVL,” the COA said.

Auditors also noted a low target accomplishment rate for the distribution of procured LTE.

The DepEd Central Office posted a target accomplishment rate of only 24% or 2.1 million pieces out of over 8.7 million.

Auditors also noted delays or failure to deliver procured goods to recipient schools in various DepEd offices.

Records showed that suppliers delivered over five million pieces of various science and math equipment worth over P1.1 billion to DepEd Central Office but these remain undelivered to recipient schools as of end of 2022.

In DepEd Bicol, over 292 units of various TVL tools such as hacksaw, meat chopper, and hand tractor remained in the warehouse.

In DepEd NCR, only P2.2 million worth of goods out of the total P3.4 million contract price were delivered by the supplier on time.

“The delay in the distribution of SME-TVL tools and equipment deprives the recipients of the benefits that could have been obtained therefrom," COA said.

"Further delay also increases the risk of damage due to weather conditions and other related issues on warehouse storage,” it added.

Auditors recommended and DepEd management agreed to ensure the immediate delivery of undelivered items and impose liquidated damages to suppliers for delays in delivery of goods.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has emphasized the importance of prioritizing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the education sector.