DepEd: Public school system far from ideal

Photos from Aboitiz and Davao Today

The Department of Education (DepEd) said that while it continues to work for the development of the country’s educational system, the present state of public schools remains far from ideal.

In an article posted by GMA News on May 15, 2017, it was mentioned that there is a huge backlog in the number of teachers and classrooms amidst the full implementation of the senior high school program.

According to a report presented by DepEd USec. Jesus Mateo in line with the opening of the annual Brigada Eskwela on Monday, 20,000 classrooms are still needed for public senior high schools, but these could not be constructed immediately due to the government’s strict procurement guidelines.

However, the agency official noted that the shortage would not directly affect the incoming school year since preparations for SY 2017-2018 were done in the years 2014 and 2015.

Meanwhile, DepEd has received a total budget of P543 billion this year, which is actually 25 percent higher than what was given in 2016.

The allocated funds include provisions for the senior high school voucher program, which serves as a subsidy for students who desire to enroll in private schools, and the mass hiring of 53,000 teachers and 13,000 non-teaching staff for the public school system.

According to the DepEd, the ideal teacher-student ratio would be 1:32.

In Cotabato, Schools Division Superintendent Omar Obas said that there is also a shortage in terms of the number of textbooks that are available for use by public school students despite the efforts of the government.

According to him, the DepEd could not provide reference materials for the 37,761 preschool, 453,880 grade school, and 339,763 high school students in his area.

“We could not demand how many books would be distributed to North Cotabato. The control is with the national DepEd office,” Obas said.