DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers party list slammed the shortage of personnel and classrooms as same old woes confront the 23 million students, teachers and administrators as the school year 2018-2019 opens this June 4.
In a privilege speech delivered by Representative Antonio Tinio, only 75,242 teaching positions were approved despite the Department of Education’s request for 81,100 teaching items in the 2018 National Budget hearing in Congress.
“At present, we are short of 5,858 teachers. Also disapproved was the 1,944 teacher items for Special Education, at least 3,000 for elementary and more than 900 for junior high school,” Tinio said.
He added that based on the 2016 United Nations Human Development Report the primary school teacher-pupil ratio in the Philippines is 1:31 compared to 1:18 average ratio other Asian counties.
According to Wilfredo Lacatan,teacher of Elpidio Quirino Elementary School and vice-president of Alliance of Concerned Teachers Union of Davao Region, class sizes range from 60-90 students especially in secondary public schools;making it impossible to achieve the Deped target of 1:35 teacher-pupil ratio.
Tinio also cited the lack of education support personnel. According to the Deped, there are only 38,284 non-teaching personnel and support staff for the 687,229 teachers in 2017.
He said there is only one non-teaching staff supporting 18 teachers in the daily school operations in public schools nationwide.
On the other hand, public schools nationwide are short of 81,750 classrooms.
“With the shortage in classrooms,public schools have shifts in classes; 6am-12nn and 12nn-6pm like in Crossing Bayabas.We have heard that 21 classrooms are still under construction in Mintal Elementary school,” said Lacatan.
Meanwhile,schools in the San Roque District,Poblacion area were flooded during the heavy rains on May 29.
For her part, Education Secretary Magtolis Briones expressed confidence in the preparedness of the Department for SY 2018-2019:
“I would like to assure everyone that we are all ready. We have been spending the first months of the year making assessments and preparing for this school year,” she said in a statement.
DepEd convened various agencies, institutions, and stakeholders to form the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Oplan Balik Eskwela 2018.