Press Release
June 6, 2006

To address the perennial problem of lack of school buildings

Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, believes that opening night high school classes using existing high school and elementary school facilities will help ease the recurring problem of lack of school buildings in the country.

"Every school year, we are always confronted with lack of teachers, classrooms and school buildings. This problem is like a monkey sitting on our backs, so to speak, for a long time now. We should come up with more proactive strategies and creative solutions once and for all," says Villar.

To recall, on Tuesday last week (May 30) Education Secretary Fe Hidalgo admitted that there was a backlog of 6,832 classrooms on a 45:1 pupil-classroom ratio. Thus, over the weekend, in a pre-bicameral conference, Villar and conferees from the House of Representatives agreed to add P2 billion to the budget of the Department of Education (DepEd) to cover the shortage in classrooms.

Villar earlier filed Senate Bill 643 or an act institutionalizing the opening of night classes using existing high school and elementary school facilities all over the country.

On his explanatory note, Villar cites, "Due to the lack of secondary schools, the number of out-of-school youth and dropouts has increased. The opening of night high school will lessen the burden on the National Government, DepEd in particular, in funding the opening and operations of secondary schools."

In one presentation of DepEd, it cites that for every 100 children entering Grade 1, only 68 will reach Grade 6. Out of this, only around 66 of them would be able to graduate and finish elementary schooling.

Furthermore, out of the 58 who enter high school, only 43 would be able to finish secondary education. Of the 43 students who completed high school, only 23 go to college and only 14 will graduate with a university degree.

Furthermore, Villar adds, it will also solve lack of school teachers. "By using existing teachers of existing high school in the area to teach in the evening, the government can save large amount of funding because night high school classes will tap day time teachers."

Based on Villar's bill, the teachers of the night high school shall be paid compensation not less than that provided in Republic Act (RA) 4670 or the Magna Carta of Public School Teachers and other existing laws computed on a hourly basis and taking into account such premium compensation rates provided by law for night time service and overtime work.

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