Monday, June 4, 2012

Philippines short by 132,000 teachers

CEBU CITY – Changes in line with a longer basic education program, as well as familiar problems like a lack of rooms, await public school students as the new school year opens today, Monday. All teachers handling Grade 1 and Grade 7 were trained under Oplan Balik Eskwela for the K-12 curriculum, a Department of Education (DepEd) official said. This week, their target is to train also the private school teachers, said Dr. Marcial Degamo, chief of the DepEd-Central Visayas quality assurance and accountability division. In Cebu City, another DepEd official said that instructional materials for Grade 1 and Grade 7 still have to be reproduced. The teachers finished their training just last Friday. These instructional materials won’t be ready in time for the opening of classes Monday. 21M nationwide The school population is estimated to increase by two percent. DepEd-Central Visayas Information Officer Lea Apao said they may come up with the exact number of enrollees in both public and private schools later this week. “We are really busy because of the mass training for Grade 1 teachers in connection with the K-12 curriculum,” Apao said. Raul Constantino, media liaison officer of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), said they have no figures on the number of pupils and students in elementary and high school for Cebu this year. But Constantino said that in the entire country, there are 21.76 million students expected to go to 45,927 public schools from kindergarten to fourth year high school. “We believe that the teachers are already prepared for this school year despite the challenge of the K-12. It’s the DepEd that needs to be prepared and it’s now time for the department to resolve issues like shortages of teachers, classrooms and toilets,” Constantino said. 48,000 classrooms Constantino said that based on TDC records, the country is short by 132,564 teachers, 48,802 classrooms and 106,604 toilets, which should be addressed immediately if the government wants to improve the quality of education. Although the lack of classrooms and teachers is a perennial problem, Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud said they are finding ways to solve these with the help of the City Government. She admitted, however, that there are some public schools in the city that will still implement double shifts because of the lack of classrooms. Some night high schools will start their classes in the daytime, including Luz, Basak Community and Oprra Night High Schools. The city schools division superintendent also promised to finish the reproduction of teaching modules in the next few days. She already instructed her nine division and 16 district supervisors to monitor the problems that may crop up on the first day of classes. Bigger classes Angtud expects an increase of more than two percent in the number of students in the public elementary and high schools in the city. The increase has averaged two percent each year, but may go up further because of an increase in the tuition in some private schools, she explained. Last school year, there were 104,052 enrolled in the city’s public elementary and 49,224 in the public high school while 18,574 enrolled in the night high school. With a two-percent increase, around 175,300 students will go back to Cebu City schools Monday. In the region, more than 1.5 million students were enrolled in public schools last school year, which would mean that some 1.53 million students across the region will start the new school year, if the projected increase is met. Angtud said late enrollees will still be entertained at the principal’s office in the next three days and at the division’s office if they fail to enroll this week. Traffic The City Traffic Operations and Management (Citom) has also modified the schedule of its traffic enforcers to help the students cross the streets. Citom Executive Director Rafael Yap said that aside from manning traffic in the streets, they will also focus on schools as the classes open Monday. Mayor Michael Rama asked the police department to be more visible, particularly near schools. “Dili magmika, more on police visibility gyud. Creativity ra gyud na, dili man mahimo nga magsige lang sila ug huna-huna nga kuwang ang pulis sa syudad (We need creative solutions, instead of always thinking that we don’t have enough police personnel),” Rama said. Rama said he’ll remind the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council to monitor the peace and order in the city as the new school year opens. Frat watch A cluster of mobile patrol groups will be stationed in different night high schools in Cebu City to protect students, an official said. “We already identified areas near schools that need police visibility for students having classes at night,” said City Intelligence Branch Chief Romeo Santander, who estimated that almost 150 police personnel will be deployed at the start of classes. He said they will also monitor fraternities, who are likely to recruit members at the opening of each school year. “There are different types of recruitment, and during the initiation of their recruits, that may be the time that trouble will start, especially among rivals,” explained Santander. He urged teachers to be there for the students and guide them away from fraternity recruiters. In Cebu City, two police officers each will be temporarily fielded to each school. Superintendent Arnel Banzon of the Cebu City Police Office said the lack of police personnel will be augmented with the assistance of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams. Ports and terminals have also been checked as students from the provinces trooped back to the city for the class opening. (ETB/EOB/JBT/Sun.Star Cebu)