DAVAO CITY, Philippines – On the first day of classes this year – in fact, the first day of the implementation of the senior high school program in the Philippines – the gates of Jesus J. Soriano National High School in Catalunan Grande, this city, were closed to students.
It is not as prepared for the K to 12 program as the Department of Education (DepEd) wants to believe, school administrator Reuel Alvarez told Rappler.
The DepEd-funded building for senior high school (SHS) is unfinished. The 46 students who have enrolled in Grade 11 will, in the meantime, use classrooms in the junior high school building the city government has built.
It wouldn’t cause classroom shortage for JHS, however – enrollment dropped this year to just two classes, as opposed to the projected 5. Alvarez attributed this to junior high school students preferring to transfer to schools that offer more senior high tracks, in anticipation of the time they would enter SHS. DepEd has assigned Jose Soriano National High School to offer only two tracks: academic and sports.
While the classroom requirement of SHS has been temporarily addressed, Alvarez said, “But still, wala kaming chairs at walang materials, wala talaga.” (We don’t have chairs, no materials, nothing).
“We are doing our best to augment the situation and implement what we are supposed to do. We are not so ready. We don’t even have learning materials, no textbooks,” he added.
SHS in his school has a shortage on teachers, too, Alvarez said. He said the school was supposed to get 5 teachers, but DepEd sent only two – because they were the only ones who qualified.
To remedy this, Alvarez has asked the “underloaded” teachers from junior high to teach in SHS.
Until the close of the first week of classes, the administration of the Jesus J. Soriano National High School was banking on the possibility that reelected Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and his wife January would help facilitate the completion of the senior high school building.
Catalunan Grande, the barangay that hosts the school, is also where the Duterte couple resides. January is, in fact, the village chief.
Home to over 45,000 persons, it is also the biggest barangay of Davao City in terms of land area. The junior high school building that the SHS students will use was, in fact, built with funds from the city government.
Still, Alvarez wanted to look at the brighter side: “Kung may problema ang school natin, mas may problema ang ibang schools sa facilities, sa textbooks, sa teachers.” (If our schools have these problems, other schools have worse problems with facilities, textbooks, teachers.) – Rappler.com