Students continue to increase; classrooms ‘overly congested’

AS PUBLIC schools opened its classes Monday, June 3, 2019 to officially start the academic year 2019 to 2020, a Department of Education (DepEd) Davao official cited increasing number of students as a factor in classroom shortage.

DepEd Davao spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said in a phone interview with SunStar Davao Monday that despite adding more classrooms, the growing student population continues to be a problem. Late enrollees, too, have become a great concern.

“With the late enrollees, we are having a hard time. Asa man nato ni sila iplastar. Kung sayo ra sila nag abot, ato unta sila naplastar (Where will we place them? They could have enrolled earlier so that we could have included them in the head count),” he said, adding that respective schools earlier estimated the student ratio accommodation per classroom based on the recently-concluded enrollment last week of May.

However, he said students will still be accommodated until the central DepEd will issue a stoppage order in catering enrollees.

He also said that there are also public schools in the city that are overly congested.

Atillo said despite having nearby public schools in their respective area, some parents would still prefer to enroll their children in their desired schools.

Bolton Elementary School has lesser students than Magallanes Elementary School (MES).

MES principal Josephine Fabian said some parents prefer to enroll their child in their school. Aside from its accessible location, Fabian said MES has shifting class of six hours while Bolton caters a regular whole day class.

“Since our first shift will start at 6 a.m. until 12 noon, children would be free in the afternoon. I'm seeing it as a reason so that these children could help their families in the afternoon,” she said.

Despite having a half day class, she said it would be up to the teachers on how they will deliver the lessons.

Meanwhile, Fabian said it is still the parents' prerogative where to enroll their children.

She added that parents will be advised to enroll in different schools if there is an overshoot of enrollees.

“As much as possible, we cannot say no to these pupils. We'll just do something about it,” Fabian said.

As of May 31, MES is expecting a total of 3,600 Kinder to Grade 6 students who will occupy 57 classrooms.

Meanwhile, Davao City National High School (DCNHS), with an expected student population of more than 13,000, is prioritizing old students during the enrollment to address the school's inadequate classrooms.

DCNHS principal Wenefredo Cagape said Grades 8 to 12 students are automatically enrolled. All they have to do is to confirm their enrollment.

DCNHS still expects additional 4,000 or more students since enrollment is still ongoing. Some 11,000 students have so far confirmed.

“We are counting on the actual students who confirmed. We are still awaiting another 2,000 to confirm,” Cagape said.

DCNHS, one of the largest secondary school student population in the city, has 169 academic classrooms with a classroom ratio of 1 is to 60 to 70 students.

Atillo, meanwhile, said the “No Refusal Policy” has limitations, especially when the school can no longer accommodate the students.

“Alangan ipugos na nato bisan wala na sila’y malingkuran. We do not want a situation wherein ato nalang sila ibutang sa corridor or palingkuron sa salog or ibutang sa gym para maka-accommodate (We cannot force accepting these students. We do not want a situation wherein these children will be sitting on the floor or in having classes in the gym),” he said.


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