As schools opened today for the start of the new school year, a party-list solon criticized the Aquino administration for failing to address the critical shortages of teachers and classrooms in public schools.
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio pointed out that the actual conditions revealed on the first day of school belied Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro’s rosy prediction that critical shortages in education resources would be addressed in two years. “Almost one year after Pres. Aquino assumed the presidency, today’s school opening shows that the new government has failed to solve the lack of teachers, classrooms and other school resources. The shortages are still there, and in some cases have gotten worse.”
Data provided by the Deped shows that for the school year 2011-2012, public schools require an additional 101, 612 regular teachers; 66,800 classrooms; 135,847 comfort rooms; and 2,573,212 chairs. “These figures are as high as they were during the Arroyo administration,” noted Tinio. “The reform and change promised by this administration has not been borne out in education.”
Tinio challenged Pres. Aquino and Sec. Luistro to pay a visit to schools like Payatas B Elementary School in Quezon City, where some Grade 6 classes are held in makeshift classrooms in what should be the school quadrangle, and regular classrooms are partitioned in half to accommodate two classes with 60 to 70 students per class. “They should also visit Batasan Hills National High School, with class sizes averaging at around 90 students, and where some students have to sit on the floor because of the lack of chairs.”
“I challenge them to look these children in the eye and tell them that this is the best that their administration can give them,” said Tinio.
Tinio called on the Aquino administration to allocate additional funds to education. “We are seeing the consequences of this administration’s misplaced funding priorities.” He pointed out that Malacanang allotted a whopping Php 21 billion for its Conditional Cash Transfer program while basic services such as education and health remained grossly underfunded. #