Albay invests P67.4M to boost education

Legazpi City (20 October) -- The investment of the Provincial Government of Albay for this year's education sector has reached P67.4 million, the highest budgetary allocation of the provincial government next to health, which it has properly divided among different projects.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda's thrust in education is to ensure that there is a college graduate in every family and to give recognition to outstanding teachers, principals, and students as well as providing cash incentives to local government units implementing new innovation in education projects.

"Education is the only investment that guarantees a return, the moment a child is born, parents are thinking about education. When employees come to work, a vast majority is working to pay for education in one form or another, this is why the provincial government is investing more [on the] education sector," Salceda said.

Every year, the provincial government through the Provincial Education Department (PED) is appropriating P6 million for Gawad Albay sa Edukasyon. This program aims to give recognition to the Outstanding Principal in the province; Ten Outstanding Teachers in Albay (TOTAL), Student Excellence in Academic Leadership (SEAL) and Kadunong Award for Best Practices in Education program being implemented by the local government unit.

The awarding ceremony for all categories of Gawad Sa Edukasyon is set every 17th of December.

As of October 18, 2010, there are 16 finalists for SEAL; 15 finalists for TOTAL; eight qualifiers for outstanding principals; and four LGU finalists for Kadunong Award.

Governor Salceda said that winners for TOTAL and Outstanding Principals will receive P100,000 each plus a plaque of recognition while SEAL winners will receive P20,000 each, a plaque of recognition and a Lakbay Aral Program sponsored by private partner.

The best local government unit with best education practices will receive P200,000 and a plaque or medal of recognition.

Aside from giving recognition to individuals with excellence performance in the sector of education, the provincial government has maintained its Education Assistance for the past four to five years with a total amount of P38.8 million fund for calendar year 2009 to 2010.

"This amount is being utilized as financial assistance to some 7,000 college students enrolled in 12 indentified educational institutions in the province including three Bicol University Local Campuses," Salceda said.

Since last year the province is implementing the Graduate Study Subsidy Program (GRASSP) for teachers taking master's degree. This program has a total budget allocation amounting to P2 million.

Governor Salceda emphasized that GASSP's main objective is to promote highly competitive, intellectual standards and teaching competencies through quality research and this program is available to all graduate students.

For thesis writing, each student will receive a minimum of P30,000 and a maximum of P60,000 subsidy while for dissertation writing, a student is entitled to a minimum of P50,000 and maximum of P100,000.00 subsidy.

Meanwhile, the Albay Higher Education Contribution Scheme (AHECS) is now is now on the 2nd semester of implementation. This is a newly introduced education program in the province with a total budget appropriation amounting to P16 million to cover at least 1,600 target student beneficiaries for school year 2009-2010."

AHECS is a study now pay later scheme for poor but deserving students in the province. "Because of the increasing number of scholars and high school graduates every year, the provincial government has decided to provide a new program to help students decide what course they wish to enroll to in college," Salceda said.

AHECS beneficiaries are given free hand to choose their courses and schools. (PNA Bicol)