MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) aims to construct 6,379 classrooms this year, with its P15.6 billion allotment under the General Appropriations Act, it said Friday.
DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said the procurement is ongoing, and the list of areas where the classrooms will be built is being finalized.
The project is being done in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways because they have "the expertise in terms of engineering," Poa told ABS-CBN News.
"But, siyempre, when you determine a school site, siyempre titingnan din natin kung iyong site ay conducive para itayo iyong school. May soil testing din iyan. Marami pong mga proseso na pinagdadaanan bago tayo makapagtayo talaga ng school," he said.
(But, of course, when you determine a school site, we will also check if the site is conducive to building the school. That also has soil testing. There are many processes to go through before we can actually build a school.)
Poa said that the agency has a two-pronged approach to solving infrastructure and personnel shortages: one is the traditional way of building more facilities and hiring additional teachers and non-teaching staff, and another is maximizing the use of technology.
"We're looking at e-classrooms. For example, we're looking at blended learning. We're looking at online resources and offline resources... We want to have a platform na available iyong (that is available) resources online and offline," he said.
"And that with blended learning, siyempre po, kung may mga araw na offsite o wala sa paaralan iyong ating mga learners at may mga araw na nandoon sila for in-person classes, mababalanse natin iyong need for in-person instruction and also kakaunti iyong learners na nasa school at any given time," he added.
(And that with blended learning, of course, if there are days when our learners are offsite or not at school and there are days when they are there for in-person classes, we can balance the need for in-person instruction and also there are few learners who are in school at any given time.)
Poa said they are already developing an online hub, which will contain learning resources for viewing online and downloading.
Earlier, DepEd Undersecretary for School Infrastructure and Facilities Epimaco Densing III said classroom shortage is at 165,000 nationwide.
In her Basic Education Report, Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte said infrastructure is "the most pressing issue" in the education sector.
Duterte also mentioned in a speech before LGUs last February that their budget this year for the School Building Program is no longer limited to 5th to 6th-class municipalities, as some 1st to 4th-class cities and municipalities will also receive school buildings from the DepEd.