P387M for school building projects 'not enough'-A A +A
Monday, July 30, 2012
PALO, Leyte - The Department of Education (DepEd) has set aside P387.36 million to build classrooms in Eastern Visayas but a department official said it is not enough to address classroom shortage.
Antonio Pino, head of the DepEd regional physical facilities and schools engineering unit, said that even with the increased outlay for school building program in the next four years, classroom shortage might still remain due to steady rise in public schools enrollment.
In his third State of the Nation Address (Sona), President Benigno Aquino III vowed to hike the budget for education to P292.7 billion next year from P177 billion in 2010 that was welcomed by DepEd regional officials.
“We are looking at more funding for school building constructions until 2016, but it is impossible to achieve the target classroom-student ratio because the demand is increasing every year,” Pino said.
This year’s budget for school building program will only allow the DepEd to construct 566 classrooms, way below than the actual need of 1,626 classrooms based on the 2011 actual enrollment.
Last year, the region got a higher outlay pegged at P457.19 million with 679 classrooms built.
“The region gets a lower budget for classroom this year considering the big funding poured out by the National Government in 2011,” Pino added.
Of the P387.36-million allotment, P7.90 million is intended for 12 classrooms in Biliran, P126.72 million for 195 rooms in Leyte, P9.36 million for 14 rooms in Ormoc City, P19.44 million for undetermined number of rooms in Southern Leyte, P60.48 million for 93 classrooms in Eastern Samar, P69.84 million for 108 rooms in Northern Samar, P97.92 million for 150 rooms in Samar, P57.60 million for 89 classrooms in Calbayog City, and P23.40 million for 35 classrooms in Tacloban City.
In addition, the DepEd is currently implementing P31.21 million under the Kindergarten School Building Program with budget programmed last year.
Rebecca Ragrag, acting assistant regional director, said classroom shortage is being addressed through the basic education facilities fund, school-based repair management system, local government units financing, and private donors.
“Teachers have been using auxiliary rooms like clinics, libraries, and canteens to somehow decongest existing classrooms,” Ragrag added.
She said that the goal to end classroom shortage by 2016 is realistic if it will be supported by stakeholders.
Before the next year ends, the President ensured the completion of 66,800 classrooms. The government also aims to provide 2,573,212 chairs within 2012.
The region has school furniture shortage of 69,116. The department has set aside P51.98 million to provide 67,606 chairs and desk for teachers. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)