SENIOR high school students in the Cordillera face a dilemma as the Department of Education (DepEd)-Cordillera Administrative Region admitted the lack of classrooms for incoming Grade 11 students.
DepEd assistant regional director Soraya Faculo admitted that close to 60 percent of the classrooms needed for thousands of Grade 11 finishers has yet to be completed before the 2017-2018 school year starts.
Faculo said only 502 of the targeted 1,244 classrooms for senior high school students in public institutions are available, leaving the region with a 59.24 percent deficit.
The DepEd official added that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) claimed their contractors are having difficulty in hauling materials particularly in remote areas in the region due to road conditions.
Apayao has the largest shortfall of senior high school classrooms, at 76.50 percent, followed by Tabuk City at 74.38 percent, and Kalinga, 71.05 percent.
Ifugao is short of 66 percent while Mt. Province is 59 percent short with Baguio City 49.58 percent short of the needed number of classrooms while Benguet has the highest completion rate of finished classrooms at 69.2 percent.
“We have been continuously urging our partner agency, the DPWH to fast track the construction of the buildings. However, although our senior high school buildings are not yet completed, we are looking ways on how we can accommodate our incoming grade 11 students,” said Faculo.
The education department in the region explained that more than 13,000 incoming Grade 11 students will be going back to school in June 5 based on the early registration done by the agency.
DepEd-Cordillera has opened its Senior high school voucher program to give financial assistance to qualified Grade 10 completers who wish to enroll in private and non-DepEd public senior high schools (SHS). It also aims to empower students with the choice to pursue their desired SHS education.
Only Grade 10 completers from private schools who are not Educational Service Contracting (ESC) grantees may submit their applications. Grade 10 completers from public schools, including state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs), and ESC grantees from private schools are already pre-qualified for the program and do not need to apply.
The amount of SHS VP subsidy depends on the category of the qualified voucher recipient (QVR), and the location of the school where the QVR will enroll.
Grade 10 completers from private schools shall receive a maximum of P18,000 if they enroll in NCR, P16,000 in HUCs, and P14,000 in other cities and municipalities.
Those who enroll in SUCs and LUCs shall receive a maximum of P11,250 for NCR, P10,000 for HUCs, and P8,750 for other cities and municipalities, regardless of where they completed their junior high school.
The voucher will not be given as cash or check to the students. DepEd will directly transfer the SHS payments to the school where the QVRs chose to enroll.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on May 15, 2017.
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