Press Release
November 14, 2009


Sen. Edgardo J. Angara urges Congress to pass a mandate providing more school buildings in the country to reduce classroom-student ratio to an ideal proportion in five years. Angara considers the country's wide classroom-student gap as a setback to the government's efforts to further improve the quality of education for Filipinos. Senate Bill 911--the School Building Program Act of 2007--aims to address this setback.

"40% of the P11.30 Billion fund to tackle the backlog in the education system will be for classroom building alone. This is just enough to cover a shortage of 6,000 classrooms. Based on DepEd records, the total nationwide classroom shortage is 41,197 and rising; at current prices, the government will need at least P16 Billion of additional funding to fully address the classroom shortage," said Angara, former president of the University of the Philippines.

The national classroom-student ratio for elementary and secondary public schools is still far from the ideal 1:30 ratio, due largely to the free education program, which has not yet been met by a corresponding increase in the number of classrooms.

The current ratio is averaging at 1:50 each for a double-shift scenario daily. The actual class size in public schools ranges from 60 to 100, which lags behind the class size in Thailand (18), Malaysia (19), China (24), Taiwan (14) and Indonesia (22). Furthermore, 20% of the country's classrooms have no proper ventilation, 27% have no lighting, 55% have no electricity and 25% have no ceilings. In 2005 20% of elementary and high schools did not have science laboratories.

Angara proposes to create an inter-agency committee to submit to the Committee on Education of both houses of Congress a comprehensive school building program. The new bill also authorizes DepEd to enter into build-operate-transfer, build-transfer, build-lease-transfer or rehabilitate-operate-transfer schemes with pre-qualified private contractors for the design, financing, construction and maintenance of school buildings.

Angara is hopeful that "with the passage of this bill, class sizes will be reduced to a manageable and ideal proportion level for a more conducive learning environment and thus result in the improvement of the quality of education."

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