1.3% of schools still ‘needing support’ for coming school year – DepEd

Sofia Tomacruz
1.3% of schools still ‘needing support’ for coming school year – DepEd
At the launch of Department of Education's Oplan Balik Eskwela 2018, Undersecretary Jesus Mateo says among the problems schools face include the availability of classrooms – especially in highly populated areas of Metro Manila

MANILA, Philippines – About 1.3% of schools are still in need of support before the opening of classes on June 4, announced Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Jesus Mateo on Monday, May 21.

Mateo explained the readiness of schools were evaluated based on 6 variables: (availability of) teachers, classrooms, toilets, seats, water supply, and electrical supply.

According to Mateo, among the problems schools still needing support faced was the availability of classrooms, especially in highly populated areas of Metro Manila.

Ang problems natin dito sa mga matataong lugar ng Metro Manila, yung availability ng school site natin kaya bagama’t gusto natin magtayo ng paaralan o ng silid aralan, hindi na kakayanin basta horizontal constructions kung hindi multi-story (na paaralan),” Mateo said at the Oplan Balik Eskwela press conference.

(Our problem in densely populated areas of Metro Manila is the availability of school sites; even if we want to build schools or classrooms, it cannot just be horizontal constructions if not multi-story [schools])

Asked if issues will be resolved and schools would be ready for opening in June, Mateo said, “merong ma-resolve, merong hindi.” (Some [issues] will be resolved, some won’t.)

He added multi-story classrooms will not be able to be built within 45 days, as one challenge here is the need for soil testing in proposed sites.  

Education Secretary Leonor Briones added the testing of prospective school sites has been a ongoing challenge over the last few years.

Yun ang challenge last year, kaya na-delay yung ating school building program because of the necessity of soil testing. Yung mga lugar we na presumed na dry, pala ay underwater… Yung mag presumed na supply ng material, yun pala wala,” Briones said.

(That was the challenge last year, because of the necessity of soil testing, our school building program was delayed. Places we presumed were dry were actually underwater and presumed supplies of masterials were not available.)

Mateo, however, said that evaluations and testing for sites are ongoing and conducted yearly to address the issue.

Meanwhile, Mateo also said for the coming school year, the remaining 86% and 12.6% of schools were considered “ready” and “nearly ready,” respectively.

Schools are considered “ready” if they satisfy almost all 6 variables evaluated, while schools that are considered “nearly ready” satisfy at least 4 of the 6 conditions.

Mateo added DepEd will have a clearer and more final picture of readiness once the government’s annual school repairs volunteer program Brigada Eskwela is finished. – Rappler.com 

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.