Performance Audit Report on the
Department of Education
The provision of free elementary education is one of the priority programs of the government identified in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan for 2001 to 2004. The provision of school education carries with it the responsibility to provide facilities by which education will be delivered.
The appropriation for school education in calendar years 2001-2002 for the implementation of the Department of Education (DepEd), is P169.385 Billion, the highest among all agencies, representing 12.73 % of the total government budget. Of this budget, P1.609 Billion was allocated for the procurement of textbooks.
For school year 2001-2002, there were 11,927,480 elementary students enrolled throughout the country distributed in 16 regions. Of the total students, 1,108,561 were enrolled in the different schools within National Capital Region (NCR) which is composed of 14 Divisions.
The adequacy of textbooks largely relating to quantity-access has been a longstanding issue for a number of years. Newspaper articles, budget debates and the July 23, 2001 State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Gloria Arroyo highlighted the importance of the provision of education facilities including textbooks, to improve the quality of education.
The access of students to textbooks has an impact both on the effectiveness of the education system and the educational opportunities available to students. The importance of textbooks as a tool in the learning process has been recognized by the government. For this reason, the provision of textbooks was included in the social expenditure management project (SEMP) I of the government funded by the world bank and implemented by the DepEd Main Office in coordination with the field offices (Regions, Division and District Offices). Of the total loan amount of P2.963b for the education component, P1.648b was allocated for the procurement of textbooks. SEMP I was intended to be implemented from February 2000 to December 31, 2002.
SEMP I aims to produce 25,000,000 textbooks for elementary and high school students by the end of 2002 in order to achieve a 1:2 textbook-pupil ratio.
The projected quantity to be procured out of the loan was computed based on an estimated cost of P70 to P80 per copy. The books however were actually acquired at a lower cost of P30 to P40 resulting in procurement of more books than the targeted quantity.
The DepEdís objective for SY 2001-2002 is to move to 1:1 textbook to pupil ratio in 5 priority subjects (English, Filipino, Science, Mathematics and Social Studies) for Grades 1 to 4. The textbook pupil ratio in SY 1999-2000 as reflected in the briefing materials for the proposed DepEdís Budget for calendar year 2001 was 1:5.
As of August 12, 2002, 42,213,558 books for elementary and secondary students nationwide had been contracted by the DepEd to be funded under SEMP I of which 9,586,889 were allotted to elementary students within NCR.
As the financing agency for SEMP I, the World Bank assesses the implementation and progress of the project on an ongoing basis. In one of their Assessment Reports it was noted that, there has been a number of long standing problems in the distribution and utilization of textbooks under the project including procurement and receipt, financial reporting, communication links between the Central and Regional Offices and links between planning and financial management functions. The absence of a reliable, integrated and timely information system was also reported to be a major weakness.
In addition to the loan secured to finance SEMP I, the Division Offices also procure textbooks from their own appropriations for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE).
In order to further ensure the delivery of education services, the Special Education Fund (SEF) under the Local Government Units (LGUs) was created under Republic Act No. 5447 enacted by the Philippine Congress in 1969, for the purpose of providing additional financial support for education facilities and services as provided by the Constitution. Among the activities to be undertaken through SEF is the procurement of textbooks.
Using SEF, the LGUs procure textbooks for the use of the schools under their respective jurisdiction.
The funding of textbooks for the educational needs of the DepEd National Capital Region (NCR) is therefore being funded through three sources, SEMP I, the Divisional MOOE and SEF. This sectoral audit focused on evaluating whether thru the implementation of these programs, the governmentís objective of attaining 1:1 textbook pupil ratio for Grades 1 to 4 had been attained. In the process, the team assessed the operations of the different agencies involved in meeting this objective by determining the textbook requirements and monitoring the progress of the program.
The audit objective was to assess whether the implementation of SEMP I and SEF have been effectively managed to contribute to the effective achievement of the governmentís objective of providing quality education through the provision of textbooks considering the determination of textbook requirements and distribution of available textbooks.
AUDIT SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
The audit covered the implementation of the textbook component of SEMP I and SEF programs of the government for elementary education from January 2001 to September 2002 intended for school year 2001-2002 considering the determination of textbook requirements and distribution of available books. The agencies included in the audit were the DepEd Main Office, NCR, Division Offices and LGUs in the Cities of Quezon, Caloocan and Mandaluyong.
As of audit date, the total textbook allocation for elementary students from SEMP I for the NCR was 9,586,889 books. From January 2001 to September 2002, the Division Offices of Quezon, Caloocan and Mandaluyong Cities also procured books amounting to P7,516,167.45 charged against their respective MOOE. On the other hand, procurement of textbooks by the City Governments of Quezon, Caloocan and Mandaluyong during the same period amounted to P40,660,543.20.
The performance of the NCR was assessed using the following criteria:
During the audit, the team performed the following procedures:
The audit was conducted from July 18 to October 31, 2002 pursuant to COA Assignment Order No. 2002-023 dated July 18, 2002. The results of the audit were discussed with the concerned officials of NCR in an exit conferences conducted on November 5, 2002 for their comments and justifications. From November to December 2002, the report was continuously being enhanced.
The NCR and LGUS have not effectively managed the implementation of the textbook component of SEMP I and SEF through the determination of textbook requirements and the distribution of available books resulting in a failure to attain the governmentís objective of achieving a 1:1 textbook pupil ratio in five priority subjects for grades 1 to 4.
At the time of audit, only two subjects for Grades 1 to 4 have sufficient books out of the allocation from SEMP I. The allocation of books in these subjects even exceeded the actual enrollment in SY 2001-2002 by 42,966 copies. This was due to the failure of the NCR and the Division Offices to determine the number of books needed by the students. The presence of excess textbooks was aggravated by the procurement of the same books by the Division Offices and the LGUs. In the three Divisions included in the audit, the number of textbooks purchased by the Division Offices and the LGUs for these subjects was 31,927 copies. This contributed to the failure of the government to attain the 1:1 textbook pupil ratio.
While the audit identified oversupply of textbooks in some subjects, allocation of books from IMCS in other subjects were short by 2,148,040 copies. This shortage could have been partially addressed by the Division Offices and the LGUs from the resources they had expended on textbooks. The insufficiency of books in other subjects reduces the effectiveness of the education services provided to students thru the provision of sufficient textbooks per subject.
To aggravate the problem further, despite the presence of excess books in some subjects, at the time of audit, some schools did not have sufficient books for these subjects due to inequitable distribution between subjects, schools and Divisions. The purpose of providing textbooks then, which is to enhance and strengthen the studentsí capacity to learn, was defeated and rendered such books worthless.
The audit concluded that the shortcomings in the implementation of SEMP I and SEF programs discussed above were caused by the following:
The audit covered the implementation of textbook component under SEMP I and procurement under SEF from January 2001 to September 2002. The textbook program is again included in SEMP II to be implemented from September 2002 to December 2005 to complete the on-going reforms started in SEMP I. The LGUs and the Division Offices are also continuously addressing the textbook needs of students. Therefore, for a more effective implementation of SEMP II and SEF, the DepEd, from the national level to the division level, and the LGUs should seriously consider addressing these concerns.
MANAGEMENTíS REACTION TO AUDIT OBSERVATIONS
The results of the audit were discussed with the NCR Director and other concerned officials in an exit conference conducted on November 5, 2002. The NCR Director assured the team that the recommendations would be seriously considered.