DepEd admits classroom shortage in Bicol persists
LEGAZPI CITY—Thousands of senior high school students in Bicol may have to attend classes in the shade of trees, in multipurpose halls or share rooms with other students as the Department of Education (DepEd) admitted that there is a continuing shortage of classrooms in the region.
Roy Bañas, spokesperson of DepEd Bicol, said only 1,127 classrooms have been built and ready for use by students when classes officially start this month.
At least 2,000 classrooms are still under construction. If completed by the first semester of classes, the 2,000 classrooms would bring the total number of senior high school classrooms in the region to 3,127.
The classrooms are being built under a P2.4-billion project started by the Department of Public Works and Highways in the last quarter of 2015.
The regional DepEd office said it expects at least 92,522 enrollees in senior high school in the provinces of Albay, Masbate, Sorsogon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes.
Bañas said adjustments would have to be made as construction of new classrooms continue.
School officials, he said, are offering temporary solutions which include increasing class sizes to make room for more students per classroom.
Bañas said classes or sections “were merged to maximize the use of classrooms.”
In many cases, he said, school officials decided to use other rooms not devoted for classes, like faculty rooms, libraries, offices of school officials, computer rooms and other rooms that can be converted into classrooms in the meantime.
In some cases, Bañas added, schools would have to rent space in private buildings nearby. The last recourse, he said, would be to conduct classes in shifts.
Holding classes in shifts, he said, is the last recourse because “we don’t want our students to go home late.”
Despite the shortage in classrooms, Bañas said the region is 100 percent prepared to implement the K-12 program that seeks to reform the country’s educational system by, among other things, adding more years to high school.
Out of 665 secondary schools in Bicol, 611 would offer senior high classes, Bañas said.