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27 Million Students Back to School Today

Rizal High School morning assembly. Largest High School in the Philippines

An estimated 27 million students will be trooping to school today for the start of the 2017 – 2018 Academic School Year. That is more than 25% of the 104 million population of the country.  There are 53,043 public schools—1.84 million in kinder; 13.15 million in elementary; 6.33 million in junior high school and 1.57 million in SHS. This represents a 6% increase for this year’s academic year.

This will translate to more demand for classrooms, school chairs and desks, textbooks, school supplies, more laboratory equipment and other ancilliaries for the students.

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones stated that the increase has been projected with the implementation of the K+12 program. This will also increase demand for Vouchers that will assist in the tuition of Senior High School students (Grades 11 – 12).

“We cannot say with 100-percent certainty that everything is there,” Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones stated the week before the opening of classes. The DepEd Secretary further stated that “We are generally ready but there will be certain schools, especially in far-flung areas that cannot catch up.” 

Also, the DepEd is coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) with regards to securing schools and transport hubs that students are using. Police are assigned to each public schools numbering from 4 to 8 policemen depending on the size of the school.

Students have also started to fill bus terminals since last week as they come back from the provinces. 

The shortage of classrooms is being addressed with DepEd rolling out numbers in relation to this with targets of building an additional  107,920 classrooms for 49,311 classrooms for Kindergarten to Grade 10; 57,021 for senior high school (SHS) and 1,588 for technical-vocational schools.

According to the DepEd  51.59 percent had been completed as of end of May 2017, making available 55,680 classrooms.

Aside from classrooms there is also a need for instructional and learning materials such as chairs, desks, teachers’ tables and even computers.

Teachers are also needed with DepEd creating 40,104 teaching position items in its plantilla. Demand has surged because of the implementation of the K+12 program and science and mathematics teachers are very much needed in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

For Senior High School (SHS), DepEd needs  8,618 new teachers to fill up the 36,788 vacancies. This figure is on top of the first batch of 21,868 teachers it requires for the school year 2017-2018.

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