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Breakthrough Solution to Reduce Congestion in Public Schools


By Mari Chrys Pablo

Overcrowded classrooms, a prevalent problem for the Philippines, have a negative impact on students’ learning. Almost four million students (about 18 percent of the student population) attend congested public schools. In urban areas, some classes hold as many as 100 students—well beyond the Department of Education’s (DepEd) prescribed 45 students per class. In those schools, students compete for space inside and outside the classroom.

In 2016, DepEd with assistance from CfC achieved a major breakthrough—DepEd developed an analytical system and procedures and issued guidelines to purchase a land parcel to establish a new school. By the end of that year, DepEd successfully purchased seven parcels expected to accommodate about 28,000 students from congested schools. Significant uptake was also observed two years later, where 14 properties have been cumulatively purchased to build public schools on. This has the potential to accommodate some 57,000 students. A far cry from previous land purchase efforts which are ad hoc and arbitrary. This story outlines the process and challenges of achieving this breakthrough reform.

Posted February 9, 2017
Related locations: Philippines
Related topics: Coalitions for Change, Urban Governance