Department of Education and Coalitions for Change: Reducing School Congestion
About four million elementary and high school students in the Philippines attend extremely crowded public schools. In a few cases, one classroom has to accommodate over one hundred students in shifts throughout the day. This is far from the ideal target of 45 students per classroom. A shortage of buildable land was identified as the most critical issue for schools in urban areas, particularly in Metro Manila.
In 2015, the Department of Education introduced a new budget provision and guidelines for the acquisition of land to establish new schools. This breakthrough solution to address school congestion raised the budget for land-related issues by 530 percent in 2015. By 2017, the Department of Education had purchased 10 parcels of land to build new schools. The Australian Embassy in Manila and The Asia Foundation through its Coalitions for Change (CfC) program, supported this reform initiative.