Gaps in school facilities and learning resources topped the list of challenges that the Department of Education (DepEd) needs to address, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Monday, Jan. 30, said.
“The lack of school infrastructure and resources to support the ideal teaching process is the most pressing issue pounding the Philippine basic education,” said Duterte as she delivered the Basic Education Report (BER) 2023.
The BER 2023 was delivered by Duterte to present the current status of the country’s basic education sector and to launch DepEd’s new agenda to address these challenges.
DepEd, Duterte said, is “not blind” to the reality that there is a need to build, repair, and maintain school infrastructures to accommodate the growing number of learners all over the Philippines.
To date, Duterte said that there are over 28 million Filipino learners enrolled in public schools nationwide.
Citing its latest inventory, Duterte said that there are 327,851 school buildings in the country. However, she noted that only 104,536 out of these school buildings “are in good condition.”
Due to various reasons, Duterte said that 100,072 school buildings need minor repairs; 89,252 require major repairs, and 21,727 are set for condemnation.
PH schools are ‘not calamity-proof’
When it comes to school infrastructure, Duterte pointed out that Philippine schools are not calamity-proof.
“Among the significant roadblocks to our education infrastructure program are earthquakes, typhoons, landslides, flooding, and even armed conflicts,” Duterte said.
In the Visayas alone, Duterte pointed out that 17,263 classrooms were damaged by Super typhoon Odette and are still subject to repair and replacement.
In July and August 2022, Duterte said she visited Clarin National Highschool in Bohol and Triana Elementary School in Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte, respectively.
Duterte shared that in Triana ES, a tent donated by an international aid agency has served as a temporary learning space for learners.
The destruction left by Super typhoon Odette in these schools, she noted, was “heartbreaking — raising the urgency of an appropriate action and collaboration between DepEd and education stakeholders from the local government units, the private sector, and international partners.”
For the Odette-damaged classrooms in the Visayas, Duterte said that P9.82 billion is needed for their repair and replacement.
To address challenges in school infrastructure and resources, Duterte said that DepEd has allocated P15.6 billion for new construction in 2023.