GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 June) — The Department of Education (DepEd) is building a total of 929 additional classrooms in parts of Region 12 to meet the number of classrooms needed with the full implementation in two years of the flagship K to 12 education program.
Dr. Allan Farnazo, DepEd Region 12 director, said Monday the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has issued the go-signal for the construction of the additional classrooms in the region that will cost a total of P960.8 million.
Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The DBM earlier announced that it has released an additional P7.35 billion for the construction of more classrooms in public elementary and secondary schools in parts of the country.
Among the country’s 17 regions, Region 12 received the second biggest allocation for the project, which will be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
In the last two years, Farnazo said the DepEd central office facilitated the construction of 1,244 more classrooms in the region to fill the area’s backlog.
Some of these classrooms were constructed under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme adopted by the agency, he said.
He was specifically referring to the second phase of DepEd’s PPP for School Infrastructure Project (PSIP II) that commenced earlier this year.
“Most of these classrooms are already being used by our recipient-schools but the others are still in the final stages of construction,” he said.
Farnazo said they have given the project contractors to complete the remaining classrooms within the next two weeks.
DepEd central office had included the region as among the expansion areas for the second phase of the PSIP, which was launched by the national government two years ago to address the country’s classroom shortage.
The government’s PPP website listed the PSIP II’s project cost at P8.80 billion or US$215 million. The project will be implemented through build-operate-transfer scheme.
DepEd has allocated a total of 637 classroom buildings for Region 12 under the PSIP II.
Under the program, a private contractor designs, finances and constructs the buildings and the government pays the proponent upon turnover of the completed school facilities.
DepEd had projected that the country’s classroom shortage will increase by 150,000 units by the year 2016, with the full implementation of the government’s K to 12 education program.
The K to 12 program, which was first implemented by DepEd in 2012, provided an additional two years to the country’s basic education program.
It covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education, comprising six years of primary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school. (MindaNews)