Press Release
November 24, 2010


With the way public classroom shortage is jumping as opposed to the number of classrooms the Department of Education (DepEd) can construct per year, Senator Chiz Escudero today said that it may take a lifetime before we can really catch up with the backlog.

At the budget hearing today, Escudero asked DepEd officials out their specific projection for additional classroom construction to address the current classroom shortage of 152, 580 nationwide.

DepEd officials say they can only construct 14,000 classrooms next year, which is less than 10 percent of the current shortage.

"This is just a moving target. That is what we lack as of today, as probably yearend 2010. By end-2011, we would be needing more classrooms. I want to know if by the end of next year DepEd already has a computation as to the amount of classrooms additionally needed," Escudero said.

DepEd projects that from school years 2011-2016 classroom shortage will jump to 266,000 from170,000 versus the current shortage.

"Cumulatively, we can compound the additional classroom requirement we have by about three percent to as high as about 10 percent for the next five years," Escudero pointed out.

Escudero said that with the above figure, it's about 14 new babies born every 12 minutes. "Assuming I count 40 babies, that would be 40 children in one classroom. We would be requiring one classroom for every 12 minutes in a year," he said.

The senator said that based on the existing data on population growth and the phase at which DepEd builds classrooms to catch up with the deficit, "I really doubt if we can really catch up given this present situation".

DepEd on the other hand is proposing that classroom construction be opened to public-private partnership (PPP) project to enable the government fill in the classroom gaps in the next school years.

"I would like to see a solid plan from DepEd on this PPP initiative so that if indeed there is an opportunity to assist our education department via this partnership, we might as well institutionalize the program and get the ball rolling in delivering the basic needs to arrest the ballooning gap," he said.

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