/ 20 May 2023

BUILDING 5,000 classrooms will not reduce the classroom shortage because of the projected increase in enrollment for next school year, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers said.

“Five thousand new classrooms can only accommodate 200,000 to 250,000 learners at a class size of 40 to 50 students, while at 2 percent average yearly increase, 480,000 new learners are expected to add to the net student population in public schools next school year. In short, with such allocation, the classroom shortage is even expected to worsen next school year,” Vladimer Quetua, the group’s chairperson, said.

The group issued the statement following the announcement of the Department of Budget and Management that it has approved the release of P15.1 billion for the construction of almost 5,000 classrooms for 2023.

It denounced the alleged failure of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte to cut down the classroom shortage “by ensuring substantial appropriations in the annual budget.”

DepEd’s 2021 data shows a shortage of 110,954 classrooms.

“There is also a need to construct 46,125 classrooms for last mile schools. This gives us a total classroom construction requirement of 242,603, and on top is the yearly 10,000 classroom requirement for increased enrolment. In short, the budget for 5,000 new classrooms this year will only cover a mere 10 percent of ACT’s proposal to build 50,000 classrooms yearly, until 2028, to eradicate classroom shortage,” the group said.

“Only through constructing 50,000 classrooms every year can we improve the learning conditions, and remove major roadblocks to education recovery,” Quetua said.