QC classroom shortage puts 10k students on home study
DepEd alternative to ease overcrowding in 6 schoolsBy Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Better than forcing them to hold classes under a tree.
As students and teachers again face a shortage of classrooms this year, one of the country’s most populated school divisions is turning to home schooling to ease overcrowding.
The Quezon City school division is placing some 10,000 students from six high schools on a home schooling program, the biggest number to be covered in a single area since the Department of Education adopted this alternative mode of teaching.
“There are 10,000 students from six high schools that will go on home study. Our city government has already allocated P20 million for that,” said assistant division superintendent Rowena Cacanindin.
Quezon City is the only school division implementing the program so far, according to Education Assistant Secretary Jesus Mateo. DepEd started the program in 2002 but there were years when it was not implemented on such a large scale.
“We’ve explained it to the parents and they understand the system. We’ve been doing it for three years (in Quezon City) and our students do well. They graduate, go to college and even go abroad,” Cacanindin said on the sidelines of a school inspection in Cubao, Quezon City, on Thursday.
Betty Cavo, also an assistant schools superintendent in Quezon City, said home-schooled students had fared well in the National Achievement Test over the past years.
Home study is one of the alternatives recommended by DepEd for schools whose enrollments far exceed their classroom space and resources, particularly those in urban centers.
Under the program, students can take their lessons at home following modules patterned after the regular curriculum and meet with their teachers only on Saturdays. They graduate with a high school diploma just like any regular student.
The Quezon City schools implementing the program this school year are Batasan Hills National High School, Commonwealth High School, Holy Spirit National High School, Doña Rosario High School, North Fairview High School and Judge Feliciano Belmonte Sr. High School.
Quezon City is Metro Manila’s largest school division, with at least 500,000 students enrolled in public schools every year.
At Batasan Hills National High School, where overcrowded rooms have been a perennial problem, school officials are aiming for a more bearable classroom-to-student ratio of 1:60 per shift by “farming out” some 3,000 students through the home study program.
The ideal ratio is one classroom for every 45 students.
“The projected number of students is 13,450 this school year. We can accommodate 10,000 while we’re farming out the 3,450 through the home study program,” Cacanindin said.
The Batasan school, whose campus is located near the House of Representatives, has 112 classrooms, including 16 in a recently constructed building.
The school will continue to implement a two-shift schedule this year.
DepEd expects the total public school student population in the country this year to increase by a million, with an expected total enrollment estimated at 21 million, Mateo said in a press conference at Ramon Magsaysay High School Thursday.
While shortages remain, DepEd continues to address the “challenges, instead of problems” year by year, among them school overcrowding, the official said.
“Our classroom-to-student ratio is improving. But let us not compare the situation in Metro Manila to that in other places. It’s not a mirror of what’s happening in the provinces,” Mateo said.