Payatas school has 70 to 1 student-classroom ratio

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jun 03 2011 10:10 PM | Updated as of Jun 05 2011 04:00 AM

Students have to walk on desks to step out of room

MANILA, Philippines –Students of Payatas B Elementary School in Quezon City will face overcrowded classrooms at the start of the school year as its student population has increased by more than a thousand compared to last year.

School officials will have to figure out how to fit some 5,000 students into the 24 regular classrooms of the 3-storey school.

The classrooms will be split into 2 to accommodate the students, making the ratio of 70 students to 1 classroom.

Due to shortage of resources, 4 students would have to share 1 desk.

To step out of the room, students will have to walk on the desks.

To make matters worse, the school’s building is old and does not have a single fire exit.

The parents of the students are aware of the situation at the Payatas school, but they have no other options.

“Kasi sa Commonwealth, crowded na rin. Kaya dito nalang. Siguro naman dito mas konti,” said one parent.

Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said the issue of overcrowding at the Payatas school will be addressed, but he said it will not be easy.

Umali admitted they might not be able to decongest the school’s over-crowded classrooms immediately as they have limited resources.

“We have a limited budget. We don’t have enough funds to meet the ideal ratio of 1 [classroom] to 45 [students]. But while that is the situation, DepEd is trying its best to address the situation“, Umali said.

“DepEd is not the sole agency in charge of all these. We have local government units to inspect the building. We need their help. We need everybody’s help,” he added.

Umali said there is already a shortage of 100,000 classrooms even before he assumed office. For this year, only 12,457 classrooms have been constructed.

Umali said overcrowding in classrooms is only common in highly populated areas, such as Payatas. -- Report from Jeck Batallones, ABS-CBN News; ANC