Adding Insult to Injury
Overage students, students with the highest likelihood of dropping out, late enrollees, students with disabilities—these are among the several excuses of Batasan National High School for the surprising conversion of regular students to being home-schooled. Regular students are those fortunate to have secured slots for daily attendance to school as oppose to those who have been compelled to be home-schooled, to be given modules and required to attend school on Saturdays.
In Navotas National High School, another desperate measure was designed. Some students will be attending school on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule while the other shift will only be attending on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
On both cases, the quality of education is gravely compromised.
News over GMA 7 showed parents who massed at the gates of the National High School were outraged with the new “program.” No less than unfair, the new policy was nowhere near any attempt to provide quality education. As the first day of school was met with the usual disappointment over the dismal state of classrooms, sanitation facilities, and teachers’ welfare, this abrupt change was adding insult to the injury within the context that K to 12 is not yet approved by general public, especially the masses.
Fifty to seventy students cramped-up in stock rooms, makeshift classrooms with only a blackboard separating classes, teachers fighting off with colleagues’ voices in every attempt to keep their respective students attentive—this is DepEd’s idea of being ready for this school year.
The K to 12 program boasts of increasing government GDP allocation to education from 2% to 3%, but “is still 3% short from the international standard set by UNESCO,” according to the League of Filipino Students. This translates to a shortage of 132, 483 teachers; 97,685 classrooms; and 153, 709 sanitation facilities.
The scanty budget allotment to education compels school administrations to think of creative ways to go around the overwhelming shortage. If the Aquino government has succeeded in doing anything for the education sector, that would be in making Philippine education more elitist and a privilege to a few. Such incompetency only serves to enrage the youth and the people to be more resolved than ever to struggle for democratic access to quality education for all. ###