According to the Department of Education and Culture-Bicol about 1.6 million students will troop back to the region’s public elementary and high schools in today’s opening of regular classes.
Chief administrative officer Jose B. Bonto of DepEd regional office, said this total number of students expected to return to schools are distributed as follows: kindergarten, 161,084; elementary, 1,042,990, and high school, 409,299. The region has 13 schools divisions, six provincial and seven city.
Camarines Sur has the most number of expected students at 452,324, while Catanduanes has 75,915, the lowest. Among the cities, Naga City has the highest number of expected students at 45,321. Sorsogon City has 43,645 while Legazpi City is third at 41,497. The city schools division of Iriga has only 26,222.
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways for Bicol has announced the completion of the construction across the region of 73 new school buildings with a total of 98 classrooms. The construction of the buildings where funded with P48.2 million under the DepEd CY 2012 RSBP (Regular School Buildings Program).
Of this amount, some P9.2 million have been assigned to Albay where 16 classroom projects have been completed in the municipalities of Tiwi, Malilipot, Bacacay, Camalig, Rapu-rapu, Libon, Oas, Pio Duran, Guinobatan and the cities of Tabaco and Ligao, according to DPWH regional director Danilo Dequito.
Camarines Sur got P16 million in 2012 for 30 school building projects, distributed among the five congressional districts of the province.
In Camarines Norte, implemented projects amounting to P4.6 million included five schools covering eight classrooms while in Catanduanes, an amount of P1.8 million was used to fund the construction of four classrooms.
In Masbate province, 25 classrooms were completed as early as last January for P9 million, distributed among the island-province’s three congressional districts while Sorsogon province got a total of P7.2 million for 13 classrooms. (From reports by Danny O. Calleja, Connie B. Destura and Cherry Acabado, PNA-Bicol)
Meanwhile, many observers see the many clear and present signs of failures of the Department of Education and Culture in its basic task. Nationwide, here’s an outlook:
o Instead of a zero backlog in teachers and classrooms, the public school children faces the severe shortcomings of the department on this front. The lack of classrooms has always persisted and still unabated. There will be a shortage of 46,567 teachers and 32,844 classrooms nationwide for the current school year. But we have to believe the pronouncement of Education Secretary Armin Luistro that the teacher and classroom shortages would be wiped out “by the end of 2013” with the help of interventions from local governments, the private sector and foreign assistance. Hope so.
o DepEd officials expresses the teacher shortage was 145,000 in 2010, with 36,923 being hired as of February, this year, and 61,510 others to be hired starting this month. It must be recalled that in 2010 the government has built 33,956 classrooms, falling short of the total backlog of 66,800 classrooms.