Mr. Lapus said the Education department is asking for more participation from business chambers, nongovernmental institutions and corporations in the program.
The Education chief was here for the inauguration of the rehabilitated Gabaldon building at the Zamboanga East Central School.
"We solicited assistance from the private sector through the adopt-a-school program with the government providing 150% income tax deduction as an incentive," he said.
Mr. Lapus, who has spent more than two decades in the private sector before joining the government, said most of the private sector assistance went to rehabilitation of schoolbuildings and acquisition of text books, chairs, computers, and even medical care for public school students.
He added the P4-billion assistance from the private sector proved the success of the department’s networking program.
"It takes the entire community to build and support a school. It’s a community effort," Mr. Lapus noted, adding that the support in education has to be consistent.
He said strong private involvement in upgrading public schools was shown during the "Brigada Skwela" (school brigade) where participation doubled in rehabilitating schools nationwide. The program is conducted before the opening of the school year.
In the 2009 budget, the Department of Education allotted P167.94 billion, a 13% increase from 2008’s P149.25 billion, for school rehabilitation, but Mr. Lapus said the amount is still "inadequate."
The growing support of the private sector and international donors has offset the fund lack, he added. "Denying the children schooling is denying the human being a fighting chance for the future," he said.
Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has allotted more than P6 million for training programs of out-of-school youth in Western Visayas.
Buen Mondejar, TESDA regional director, said the program will start this month.
"The funds will be equally divided among the 18 congressional districts in Western Visayas, amounting to P330,000 each," Mr. Mondejar said during the opening of the sixth Aklan Product Showcase held in SM City Iloilo.
Some 50 out-of-school youth will benefit from this project. The agency will train the qualified applicants, provide allowances and other expenses, Mr. Mondejar said.
He added the project is part of pro-poor and livelihood programs. TESDA Director-General Augusto Syjuco was assigned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to spearhead the pro-poor and livelihood programs in Western Visayas.
TESDA was tasked to formulate a comprehensive development plan for middle-level manpower based on the National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan. — Darwin T. Wee and Harthwell C. Capistrano, BusinessWorld