MANILA — Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Wednesday said authorities should get "innovative" to address the country's classroom shortage, which she described as a "quicksand" problem.
During the education department's budget briefing before the House Committee on Appropriations, Duterte said the classroom shortage could not be solved because government fails to give sufficient funds while the number of learners continues to increase yearly.
"I described our classroom shortage as a situation of a quicksand, where due to meager budget given to classroom construction annually we cannot even address the requirements due to enrollment increase and shortage that keeps piling up year in and year out," Duterte told lawmakers.
She said learning could be done outside the classroom.
"We have to be innovative dahil alam naman na natin na di natin ma-solve yung classroom shortage," Duterte said.
"Tinitingnan po natin ang iba't ibang paraan na pwede natin gawin that learning continues for our learners outside of the classroom. Ang atin pong motto is that not all learning happens inside the classroom," she continued.
(We have to be innovative because we know that we cannot solve the classroom shortage. We are looking at various things we can do so that learning continues for our learners outside of the classroom. Our motto is that not all learning happens inside the classroom.)
Duterte told lawmakers that the Marcos administration would invest in flexible learning.
"We would like to present to you our plans for the succeeding years... and that is to invest heavily in flexible learning options. Of course, we will still pursue the building of classrooms... but we will innovate and look for other solutions," Duterte said.
"We should think outside of the box already with regard to basic education," she added.
Duterte also asked lawmakers to support her bid to exclude classroom construction from functions that would be devolved to local government units.
"As a former mayor, I believe Davao City cannot address the classroom shortage in our city. Hindi po kaya 'yan ng first to fourth class municipalities," Duterte said.