Cordillera Administrative Region

Facility, chair shortage forces some Cordillera schools to continue blended learning 

Sherwin de Vera

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Facility, chair shortage forces some Cordillera schools to continue blended learning 

EDUCATION WEEK. DepEd and CHED officials lead the unveiling of the 2023 Education Week programs and activities during a presentation in Baguio on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.

Sherwin de Vera/Rappler

Data show that the Cordillera Administrative Region still needs 1,604 classrooms for elementary, 1,381 for secondary, and 121 for integrated schools

BAGUIO, Philippines – Despite the Department of Education’s (DepEd) return to face-to-face classes since November 2022, some schools in the Cordillera Administrative Region are forced to continue blended learning due to the lack of classrooms and chairs.

“DepEd is already implementing the full face-to-face [class], but we cannot avoid that some other schools still do blended learning because of the lack of facilities,” said Alfredo Lanas, DepEd’s Education Program Supervisor for the Cordillera region.

He told a press conference for the Education Week celebration on Tuesday, November 28, that several schools are in need of additional chairs.

Meanwhile, areas that have experienced calamities in recent years are also facing a shortage of classrooms, particularly in Abra, which was the epicenter of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in July 2022.

According to him, the blended method is an adjustment, with classes taking turns.

“But DepEd is always doing its best to solve this problem, and now a few of the high schools are doing blended learning,” he said. 

The latest records from DepEd-CAR’s Education Support Services Division show that the region still needs 1,604 classrooms for elementary, 1,381 for secondary, and 121 for integrated schools. 

Mountain Province leads with 355 classroom shortages for elementary and 425 for secondary. The figures were based on the 2022 enrollment. 

Engineer Christopher Hadsan, head of the Education Facilities Section, said budget allocations for the region in the past years and for 2023 were insufficient to cover the gap. 

Based on their latest estimate, a classroom measuring 7×9 meters, which can accommodate 40 to 45 students, costs P3.5 million. 

According to him, increased costs and changes in implementation have also affected the repair of classrooms. From P500,000 per room in the prior years, repair costs have risen to P1.2 million in 2023. 

“Previously, DPWH was responsible for new construction [of classrooms] and DepEd handled the repairs. This year, DPWH handled both,” he said. 

“Meanwhile, for chairs, the priority is for new construction… and replacement is secondary and only for those damaged in calamities,” Hadsan added. 

He said the anticipated delivery of chairs in 2021, part of the previous administration’s “replace all” program, also failed to materialize. 

According to him, the central office, responsible for procurement and delivery, encountered an issue with the hauling service.

Hadsan said he was optimistic that they can address the chair shortage, at least. He said that the budget for the delivery was downloaded in October, and they also have allocations for 2022 and 2023.

But he stressed that meeting the required number of classrooms will take more time. – Rappler.com

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