GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 August) — The city government is pushing for the construction of 54 more classrooms this year in various public schools in the city as it moves to address the area’s rising classroom backlog.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said they have partnered with the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and another private entity to help reduce the area’s classroom deficit, which stands at 352 as of this school year.
He said PAGCOR, a government-owned and controlled corporation, committed to fund the construction of 40 classroom buildings this year in two public schools in the city.
The mayor said 20 classrooms will be built at the General Santos City High School and another 20 at the Romana Elementary School.
A report earlier released by PAGCOR said it has allocated around P53 million for each project, which will feature a modern four-storey building with 20 classrooms.
Rivera said the local government also signed a memorandum of agreement earlier this month with the South Cotabato Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce for the construction of seven two-classroom buildings in the city.
He said the project will cost around P5.6 million.
The mayor said the local government has been continually exploring possible partnerships with government agencies, private entities and individuals to help fill the gap in terms of the classroom shortage and other facilities in local public schools.
In the last 12 months, he said the city government and the Department of Education’s (DepEd) city division office jointly facilitated the construction of 40 classrooms in the area.
Rivera said they mainly intend to significantly reduce the 352-classroom shortage in the city within the next two years.
Citing the DepEd’s standard classroom-to-students ratio of 1:45, he said such deficit means “at least 15,000 pupils and students are either holding classes under the trees or covered courts or they are sharing rooms with other grades and sections.”
“If we cannot find solutions to the lack of classrooms in our public school system, the quality of teaching will suffer the most and our students will be the ultimate losers,” he said.
Data released by DepEd showed that the city’s public school population as of June already reached a total of 139,422.
It said a total of 15,369 more pupils and students are enrolled in private schools in the area.
Aside from classrooms, Rivera said the city government has been also addressing the need for armchairs in local public schools that was placed at around 14,000 in October last year.
But he said they were able to reduce such deficit to around 10,000 as of June this year with the distribution of 4,000 armchairs by the RD Foundation Inc. and the local government.
The city government and RD Foundation, which is operated by the mayor’s family-owned conglomerate RD Group of Companies, launched the “Edukasyon Mo, Kabuhayan Mo” project in October last year the area’s armchair deficit.
The project enlisted the services of the city’s persons with disabilities sector for the production of the required armchairs. (MindaNews)