DepEd prepared for school opening – Valisno

June 14, 2010 8:35 pm 

MANILA, June 14 – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday expressed its readiness to welcome more than 23 million students both in public and private schools in primary and secondary levels nationwide as the academic year 2010-2011 officially starts Tuesday, June 15.

Kenneth Tirado, chief of DepEd communication unit, said the figure was based on the increase of almost three percent rate on enrollment population for this school year compared to the usual annual two percent rate increase in previous years.

DepEd records showed that some 22.39 million students’ population in elementary and high school both in public and private schools was posted in the last academic year or school year 2009-2010.

Of the said number, the records showed that some 1.24 was enrolled in pre-school, 14.22 million in elementary and 6.97 in high school level.

Records also showed that there are some 15,841 pre schools and 43,204 primary and secondary schools all in public sector across the country. In private sector there are some 70,804 elementary and 4,707 in secondary level nationwide. Figure for the private pre-schools, however is not available.

Education Secretary Mona Valisno attributed the increase in the enrollment to DepEd's intensified campaign on participation of school-age children for this school year.

She added that the DepEd has even issued an order mandating that no school age child should be denied of enrollment.

She also claimed that the intensified campaign was also in line with the country's move towards reaching its goal of 100 percent participation rate among school-age children to achieve the Education For All 2015 millennium goal set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

To ensure a smooth opening of classes, Valisno said that she has already instructed all DepEd officials in Metro Manila and school district superintendents to work with other education stakeholders and the DepEd Central Office to better address all problems they may encounter in their respective schools.

Outside of Metro Manila, Valisno said DepEd regional and division offices are instructed to monitor all development within their respective areas and assist school officials should problems arise.

“We are prepared for tomorrow’s (June 15) school opening and we are confident that the school opening this year will run smoothly and orderly,” Valisno told reporters.

Earlier, the DepEd assured the public it had enough teachers, textbooks and other facilities to cope with the expected influx of some 23.4 million elementary and secondary students this school year.

Valisno also expressed confidence that the issue on students per classroom ratio has been properly addressed by DepEd in partnership with the private sector and the local government units due to the construction of some 66,000 classrooms, majority of which are in Metro Manila.

She stressed that the students’ classroom ratio is now pegged at 1:45 with some schools adopting the double shifting scheme.

She however admitted that the number of classrooms remains a perennial problem but maintained that the same is manageable as the DepEd alone was able to construct some 4,561 new classrooms since January last year.

On the problem on shortage of teachers, the DepEd said that an additional 10, 000 school teachers will be added to the work force this year, disclosing that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has given its go-signal for the Department to proceed with the hiring of teachers.

With the additional teachers, DepEd said the teacher-student ratio will stand on an average at 1:32 though it admits the figure may go higher especially in urban areas where there is a higher concentration of the population.

Last year, 9,073 new teaching positions were added on top of the 8,823 already created to augment the existing pool of mentors.

Valisno said that the DepEd's problem on textbooks has also been properly addressed as they expect a 1:1 book per student ratio this year except in Mathematics and Filipino where the current ratio stands at 1:3.

She added that this will be further lessened by the arrival of some 5.7 million textbooks that DepEd has acquired. At present, the department has a total textbooks inventory of 86 million.

On the other hand, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), also declared its preparedness for tomorrow’s formal school opening although some higher education institutions (HEI) had opened and start holding classes last June 7.

CHED chair Dr. Emmanuel Angeles, earlier warned HEI not to increase its tuition by more than 10 percent, stressing that reasonable increase is between 5 to 10 percent of their current tuition fee rate.

He added that CHED will not allow any increase beyond 10 percent.

CHED records also showed that there are about 339 HEIs, 337 private and two state-run institutions have been initially granted approval to increase tuition this academic year.

Angeles said this number might still go down as some of the said HEIs have bypassed the required process including the holding of consultation meeting parents and students and other stakeholders before implementing the increase.

"Actually, 382 schools submitted an application with CHED but only 339 got our nod. The rest we disapproved after they failed to meet the guidelines," he said.

CHED had earlier advised schools that any fee increase should be reasonable and within the 5-10 percent range. It also appealed to private and state schools to hold off on plans to hike fees. (PNA)

LAP/HCT

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