Enrolment rises but where are the chairs? And the teachers?

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 June) — An estimated 94,000 public school elementary pupils and 47,000 high school students in Region XI will have no chairs as schoolyear 2011-2012 opens Monday.

The Department of Education (DepEd) in the region projects a rise of 30% enrollment rate in Elementary from 656,071 actual enrollees last schoolyear to 675,755 enrollees this year with only 581,624 school actual seats available.

In High School, the rate of enrollees is also expected to rise from 245,000 to 254,801 with only 206,484 actual seats available.

The Davao region comprises the three Davao provinces and Compostela Valley and six cities.

The regional DepEd’s  Basic Education Information System (BEIS) shows the need for additional facilities has not been fully addressed. Based on Schoolyear 2006-2007 Quick Counts Data, the pupil-seating ratio in the elementary level was at 1:08.  Three schoolyears later, the ratio slightly increased to 1:13. In High School, it was 1:23 and three schoolyears later, at 1:19.

Aside from lack of seats,  the need for additional classrooms and toilets also need to be  addressed.

Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro has given the go-signal to the region to address the need for approximately 4,700 teachers: 1,777 for elementary and 2,929 for high school.

In a press conference last week, DepEd XI Director Susana Estigoy said  they aim to produce  11,790 seats for elementary students;  262 classrooms for elementary and 167 more for high school; an additional 331 toilets for elementary and 112 for high school.

“We expect to meet the target production of additional facilities in the third quarter this year,” Engr. Rene Agbayani of DepEd XI said.

“Currently, with our Balik-Eskwela campaign, we are doing our best to address the need for more facilities, especially classrooms,” said Dir. Estegoy, “but with the lack of budget, we are now developing a 50/50 partnership with Local Government Units.”

Estigoy said partnership with LGUs is not mandatory but among the leaders who manifested their commitment to the program are Governors Rodolfo del Rosario and Arturo Uy of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley and Mayor Rey Uy of Tagum City.  (Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan/MindaNews)