Press Release
September 20, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to immediately address lack of classrooms and other shortages in physical infrastructure during the budget hearing at the Senate.

Angara was reacting to DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro's presentation detailing the backlog in the provision of 66,000 classrooms in the country. The DepEd has built 13,144 and plans to reduce lack of classrooms to 34,349 by the end of 2011. Angara urged the department to work fast to close the gap immediately.

"The DepEd should work on overcoming physical shortages such as classrooms, seats and desks, water and sanitation immediately so that our teachers can focus on the more important things like curriculum and subject matter and not worry about toilets and blackboards," said Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

Currently, the student to classroom ratio in urban centers like Metro Manila 1:62 students, while in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) the ratio swells to 82 students per classroom. The recommended class size is only 45 students per classroom.

Luistro promised that DepEd will fill major shortages by December 2012, adding that seats and textbook shortages will be delivered within the year.

Angara suggested that DepEd set up an office that will handle and encourage donations, as well as organize a pledging session for prospective donors who are willing to make firm commitments toward infrastructure building for schools.

"The construction of classrooms is our responsibility. The government should provide the budget for capital outlay for that purpose. What we must do is look for donors for special facilities like science and computer laboratories. We can put together a module and costing for those facilities, and find private corporations who can fund them," said Angara, Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

According to the DepEd, it costs P650,000 to construct a 7x9 one-storey classroom. Senator Franklin M. Drilon, however, argued that the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCI) can build the same for just P325,000, or about half the price.

"The DepEd, DPWH and the FFCCCI can sit together and determine why there is such a wide discrepancy in the costs. Imagine, you can build twice the amount of classrooms if we construct at the same rate offered by the Chamber?"

Apart from construction, Angara also urged the DepEd to look into standardized aesthetics in schools and classroom construction. "Our schools all look different, like a kaleidoscope. In other countries, schools have a standard model that is followed by all. Form is a very powerful conveyor of message: it signifies permanence and stability. We should work to achieve that as well."

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