EDUCATION Secretary Armin Luistro admitted that teaching sex education is not his priority, citing he will focus instead on resolving problems on classrooms and teachers shortage.

When asked of his position on the pending sex education program, Luistro said: "I will base my decision on this and every other issue not on personal opinion but on the best interest of the Filipino children."

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He added that he is willing to talk with all education stakeholders, including the religious sector, in order to get their ideas on the issue.

"I will talk with an open mind to all. My experience is that you could bring people, even those who opposed each other, to a room and talk and discuss openly."

At the same time, the Department of Education (DepEd) chief refused to disclose his personal stand on the issue, adding that doing so may prejudice his role as a "bridge" to the opposing parties.

"If you keep on pushing, I am afraid I will not be able to serve as a bridge to all these parties," he further explained.

The DepEd budget request for 2011 list a requirement of 54,362 classrooms nationwide to be able to met the classroom-student ratio of 1:45.

But he admitted the problem may even go as high as 147,000 classrooms if the department would insist on a single shift of classes for every school.

As for teachers, Luistro said they have requested 120,230 next year to add to the existing 501,158.

He said these only represent a tip of the iceberg of the problems facing the basic education sector. AH/Sunnex)