New school year opens, same old problems - MINDANAO SUN

New school year opens, same old problems

IPIL, Philippines – The new school year 2019-2020 for public schools opens June 3 but the same old problems are expected to greet at least 22 million learners nationwide. For private schools, the official opening will be next week.

Records from the Office of the Undersecretary for Planning Service and Field Operations headed by Jesus Mateo showed a total of 27, 216, 398 learners are expected to return to both private and public schools: 22,839,989 in public; 4,217,726 in private; and 158,683 in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs).

The breakdown of the number of public schools learners are as follows: 2,098,627 Kinder; 12,046,842 elementary; 7,033,527 Junior High School; and 1,660,993 Senior High School.

In private schools, the expected enrollment is 4,217,726 with the following breakdown: 231,143 Kinder; 1,213,776 Elementary; 1,431,117 in JHS; and 1,341,690 in SHS.

For all SUCs and LUCs, the enrollees are: 329 in Kinder; 10,980 in elementary; 62,411 in JHS and 84,963 in SHS.

This school year, however, just like the previous school years are expected to mire in the same old problems such as shortage in school facilities and resources because of the growing student population.

Cases of dilapidated classroom and shortages had been recorded in the past years.

For Marlo, a junior high school teacher of a public school in Zamboanga Sibugay, said some schools have to contend utilizing “cramped and leaking classrooms.” He did not mention where these schools are.

New school buildings were built, he said, but the number of students in the public school is growing.

He admitted the Brigada Eskwela and donations from “kindhearted stakeholders” are big help but not enough.

That’s why, he said, some teachers have to shoulder some expenses for their classroom repairs from their own pockets.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said the same old problems plagued some schools in 15 regions of the country.

Based on the reports from the field, ACT has outlined the problems faced by each region.

In Regions 1 and 6: “cramped in makeshift classrooms.”

In Region 5: “they hold classes in nipa huts.”

In Region 8 especially the areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda: “holding all their classes in plywood classrooms” since 2014.

In Regions 7 and 11: “classes are held in comfort rooms-turned-classroom, in covered courts, by the stairs, and under the trees right outside the school building.”

In Region 13: “every year level has a one-day holiday every week due to insufficient spaces to hold classes.”

In Regions 3 and 9: cramped and “suffer from poor ventilation.”

In Region 1, 4-A, and 12: “teachers are not provided faculty rooms.”

Lack of instructional materials and Information and Technology equipment had also been reported in some areas.

“This is the appalling reality at the school level,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

“Their environment is not at all conducive to learning and to productivity and this is the face of yearly budget cuts suffered by teachers and students,” he added. (jm)

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