Senator Win Gatchalian on Wednesday guaranteed to push for enough funds to build classrooms to address the country’s classroom shortage.
He noted that huge funding would be needed by schools that were devastated by the recent strong earthquake and typhoon Odette in December last year.
The Department of Education (DepEd) eyes a budget of P86.5 billion to construct classrooms in 2023. Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, had made rounds in some schools in Valenzuela.
While Monday’s school opening was generally peaceful based on his observations, Gatchalian pressed the need for government to ensure adequate facilities for the full resumption of in-person classes in November.
He noted that in some schools with large populations, some learners had to attend class in school gymnasiums and covered courts, while some had to sit on the floor.
He also observed that some classrooms end up being congested because of enrollment influx and learners’ migration, which resulted in the inadequacy of desks.
He has also acknowledged the role of the country’s education frontliners for ensuring the smooth opening of schools and ensuring the continuity of education amid the persisting threat of COVID-19.
Gatchalian cited the role of teachers, principals, and schools superintendents in preparing the country’s schools, especially for taking steps in ensuring the safe resumption of face-to-face classes, including the installation of temperature checks, handwashing, and isolation facilities, as well as proper ventilation in classrooms.
He also pointed to the role of education frontliners in enforcing public health protocols such as mask-wearing and monitoring COVID-19 symptoms among learners.