DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The opening of classes on June 5 in both elementary and high school in Mindanao was marred with the usual lack of classrooms and teachers, an official of the education department said.
“We have been receiving reports from all the other regions in addition to Mindanao and so we ask them also to mention challenges and generally, it is classrooms,” Department of Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a press briefing held at the Malacañang, Tuesday, June 6.
Briones said that the “learners of basic education do not stop increasing every year.” This as she pointed out that the Department of Education would try to provide the needed classrooms for an estimated 22 million number of students on public schools this year.
“We try to catch up and then you have a new batch of learners also, again to accommodate all needing classrooms,” she said.
In Davao, the lack of classrooms was one of the challenges that school officials are trying to remedy with such as in the case of Magallanes Elementary School.
April Ann Juaquin, 30, a parent from Magallanes Elementary School told Davao Today that yesterday’s opening of classes went well for her two children except to her kindergarten child.
“It was fine but my pre-schooler didn’t have a room yet. He wasn’t included on the list,” Juaquin said.
Magallanes Elementary School Principal Mariclu Alpas said that the number of kindergarten have doubled from last year’s 423 pupils to this year’s 873 while they only have 10 teachers as of this school year.
“By this time while we don’t have enough teachers yet, the ratio of students per classroom has exceeded,” Alpas said.
She also admitted that they have problems regarding the current number of classrooms they have for the kindergarten.
In a separate interview, Davao City National High School Media Relations Officer Jed Bete said that yesterday’s class opening went smooth for them except for some schools reported to have insufficient classrooms and chairs.
“Temporarily while waiting for the completion of the buildings that are being constructed, some students are at the gym. It’s because we have a large number of students here, we are expecting not less than 11,000 students for this school year,” Bete said.
Bete said that the lack of classrooms is a common problem among all public schools annually because the number of students is increasing.
“To avoid the shifting of classes for junior high school, we increase the class size. Meaning, unlike the previous years, only 50-55 students per classroom, now the average is 65-70 some even have 75 students,” Bete said. (davaotoday.com)