During the plenary deliberations on the budget of the Department of Education (DepEd), Davao de Oro 1st District Rep. Maria Carmen Zamore revealed that the education department is eyeing using the classrooms of closed private schools to address the shortage of classrooms in the country.
This was after ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro asked Zamora, who was sponsoring DepEd’s proposed P710 billion budget for 2023 on the House floor, what the plans of DepEd are in addressing the 91,000 classroom shortage in public schools all over the country.
“As to the detailed activities being implemented now by the Department, it actually implements the shifting of classes just to address the shortage of classrooms,” Zamora said.
“One of the strategies also that is being applied now by the Department is its coordination with private schools that are now closing and exploring the possibility of partnering with them and utilizing the school buildings of these private schools so that these can be used by our learners in the public schools,” Zamora added, saying that the construction of new classrooms would take time.
However, Castro said that the classroom shortage has been going on since before the pandemic, and some private schools were only forced to close down due to low enrollment rates, but the education department has yet to address the ballooning shortage of classrooms that now stand at 91,000.
“Ang tanong doon, kung paano natin ito mafa-facilitate at mapapabilisan kasi po ang lumalaki po [ay ang paglalagay ng] dagdag na budget [para sa] ating facilities pero yung absorptive capacity ng department of Education in terms of building ng mga rooms ay low,” Castro said.
(The question is, how could we facilitate and expedite the construction of the classrooms because the budget allocated for classroom building is increasing but the absorptive capacity of the education department in terms of building classrooms remains low.)
Zamora answered that the construction of the classrooms relies heavily on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and that DepEd will work with them to look at the gaps and improve the absorptive capacity of the agencies.
“As with the absorption capacity, Mr. Speaker, in the construction of a building that was mentioned earlier, the implementation of the construction is [reliant on] the Department of Public Works and Highways, and therefore, the Department of Education and DPWH are now working together, looking at the gaps and trying to iron out things that will improve the absorptive capacity of these agencies,” Zamora said.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.
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