Lack of classrooms, teachers, textbooks – plague 1.6M public school students in Bicol

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PHOTO BY BICOLTODAY.COM
GARAGE CLASSROOM: Pupils of Larosa Elementary in Sorsogon City. BICOLTODAY.COM FILE PHOTO

LEGAZPI CITY, 3June2013 – The perennial problem on backlogs in classrooms, teachers and textbooks met the public school students in Bicol even as the opening of classes went on smoothly today.

At least 1.6 million students were expected to attend classes in various public kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools across Bicol, according to Roy Banas, Department of Education (DepEd) Bicol regional office spokesperson.

The breakdown of enrollees is as follows: 161,084 pupils in the kindergarten level; 1,042,990 in the elementary; and 409,299 in the secondary level.

Banas claimed that there was a two-percent increase in enrolment as compared to last year.

He said this year’s 1.6 million enrolled students would be accommodated in at least 865 classrooms spread over the six provinces of Bicol.

Additional 800 classrooms are expected to be built this year to address the 1,822 classroom shortages in Bicol, Banas added.

Currently, there are 40,425 public school teachers in the elementary and secondary levels in Bicol.

The DepEd, however, is still short of at least 10,575 teachers to meet the ideal student-teacher ratio.

Banas said they expect to hire 3,000 new teachers this year to cut the teacher-shortage problem.

The DepEd-Bicol is working on an P11.8-billion budget for personnel and maintenance and operating expenses for this year.

Of this budget, P12.7 million goes to pre-schools; P11.7 billion for elementary and P9.1 billion for secondary; and P80.6 million for the regional office.

A P93.5-million fund has been allocated to finance 17,000 scholars enrolled in various private schools in the region.(PNA)

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