Multigrade classes bring education to underserved areas

By Nikka Garriga

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA—The Department of Education (DepEd) continues to hold multigrade classes in an effort to ensure that Filipino students in remote areas complete their basic education.

A multigrade class consists of two or more different grade levels in a single grade classroom manned by one teacher for an entire school year.

It is often implemented in elementary schools located at remote and sparsely-populated localities.

About a million pupils are enrolled in multigrade classes across the country, according to DepEd.

Most of these students, according to Education Sec. Armin Luistro, belong to isolated, poor and indigenous communities in far-flung mountains and islands where schools are far apart from each other.

“This is part of our thrust to democratize access to education and make the learning experience inclusive to as many sectors. In effect, we are bringing more students to school,” Luistro said.

If a class does not meet the required number of enrollees, it is not viable to conduct a class due to  the limited number of pupils.

The students are merged into a single class with one teacher if the class population is limited and does not meet the required number of enrollees.

A multigrade class takes into consideration factors such as the small number of students for each grade level, the shortage of teachers, the distance from the community to the nearest school, and the inadequacy of funds and classrooms, said Luistro.

The bureau began integrating multigrade classes in the formal curriculum and continued its operation during the 1990s in keeping with its Education for All (EFA) agenda.

It gathers children with different skills and abilities, different developmental levels and needs in a class while working together under the guidance of one teacher.

The DepEd will continue to invest on its teacher's training, curriculum development and developing related learning materials to further equip schools in remote areas with such class models.

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