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What “zero backlog”? Solon to DepEd: Schools in several regions still “hot”

3 June 2013 No Comment

3 June 2013
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio (09209220817)

ACT TEACHERS Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio hit as premature the Aquino administration’s claim of “zero backlog” in textbooks this new school year and in teachers and classrooms by end of 2013, saying actual conditions which greeted students yesterday belied it.
Schools and divisions nationwide predict that they will still be in the “hot zones” this 2013, meaning large resource gaps in classrooms, teachers, and other basic inputs.
In DepEd’s Basic Education Information System, “hot colors” range from yellow to red and black, depicting the degrees of severity in resource gaps.
Dasmariñas, one of the most populated Divisions in CALABARZON, has an average student-to-teacher ratio of 42.6, placing it in the gold, or “manageable” zone. It had a red or “severe” ratio last year, prior to the hiring of 462 new teachers. Division officials, however, project that it will still have severe classroom congestion (a little over the current ratio of 80 pupils in elementary and 95 in secondary levels) despite new units built through national and local funds and PPP.
DepEd has ordered schools to use all available spaces to ease congestion. One elementary school in Cavite will be using its covered court for ten classes (of about 60 students each) a day, aside from using 27 classrooms–half of its total inventory–long slated for demolition and other spaces such as the library and corridors.
Tinio also received reports of textbook shortages, even as DepEd recently admitted that teachers and students in Grades 2 and 8 will have to start classes empty-handed due to a “slight delay” in the delivery of teachers’ guides (TGs) and learners’ materials (LMs).
Teachers and students in Grades 1 and 7 suffered the same delay last school year, despite DepEd’s assurance that it will provide enough TGs and LMs for K to 12’s new curriculum as well as textbooks for all grades.
CALABARZON schools report dismal ratios of three or five students per textbook.
Other regions reporting severe shortages:
Expecting 1,050,975 students (a 3% increase from last year’s enrolment), Davao Region lacks 4,413 classrooms, including 1,269 for Kindergarten. Pablo-affected schools resort to double- and triple-shifting and using makeshift classrooms.
Western Visayas is short of 2,058 teachers and 3,000 classrooms, despite being a beneficiary of 4,964 teaching items and 311 new classrooms.
Eastern Visayas lacks 1,183 teachers and has about 45 high school students and 35 elementary students to every teacher (yellow and orange, respectively).
Tinio urged government to give higher subsidies for public education instead of denying the persistence of shortages.
“Government must strive to approximate the 6% of GDP benchmark. Nagpahayag man si PNoy ng mas mataas na budget ceiling para sa DepEd sa 2014, hindi natin binibitiwan ang panawagang buhusan niya ng sapat na pondo ang edukasyon. Nagmula tayo sa mga panahong hindi tumaas sa 2% ng GDP ang pondo ng DepEd, kay tantiya natin na ang plano niyang P255.2 bilyon ay hindi pa rin sasapat.” ###

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