772 enrollees for 1 teacher?

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

DESPITE assurances that the public education system is all set for the start of the classes, it’s the same old story under worsening conditions over at the Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Sr. Elementary School (KTMSES).

As of Monday, a total of 772 kindergarten students enrolled for school year 2014-15 at KTMSES, but, the school only has one permanent kindergarten teacher and the Department of Education (DepEd) has already disallowed volunteer teachers.

Merlinda Roma, Kapitan Tomas principal, said the number of students enrolled is still expected to increase since they are still accepting enrollees even yesterday, Monday.


Roma said the school needs 12 kindergarten teachers for the 772 students. She said the ratio of teacher and kindergarten students must be 1:30.

The only permanent teacher of Kapitan Tomas is Mae Bernales. Roma said that as of Monday, Bernales attended to 60 students only -- 30 pupils for the morning session and another 30 for the afternoon class.

The rest of the students who are not under Bernales had no class, said Roma.

Wait and see

"Karon nga week mag-wait sa mi. Ang division office mag-deploy man ug kinder teachers pero congressional items na siya (We have to wait for the division office to deploy more kindergarten teachers under the congressional item)," Roma told Sun.Star Davao in an interview Monday afternoon.

"Hopefully permanent na ang mahatag sa amoa kay unsaon namo na ug tudlo ang kinder nga 700-plus (Hopefully, the division office will give us permanent teachers because we do not know what to do with the over 700 students),” she added.

Considering the problem of the lack of kindergarten teachers, Deped-Davao spokesperson Jenielito "Dodong" Atillo said one of the solutions is to utilize grade one teachers.

"Wala na tay volunteer-teachers karon kay naningkamot ang departamento nga maka-provide ug teacher items for kindergarten (We do not accept volunteer kindergarten teachers anymore since Deped is trying its best to provide teacher items for kindergarten)," Atillo said in a phone interview Monday.

Atillo said he cannot give exact number of students enrolled in kindergarten in Davao City since enrollment is still ongoing for some schools. He added that the number of kinder teachers needed could not yet be determined.

Roma, however, said they cannot assign grade one teachers to handle kindergarten classes since they also have their advisory classes with 45 to 60 students.

"Mag-wait gyud sila kay ang akong grade one man gud shifting sila unya daghan man na sila ginahimo, so mag wait sa mi sa Deped division (The parents of kindergarten students have to wait since we cannot also utilize our grade one teachers)," she said.

Meanwhile, Roma said the school also expects a shortage in chairs for kinder students once classes will officially start.

She estimated that there will be a lack of more than 300 chairs for kindergarten.

School Hopping

A mother of a kinder pupil who asked not to be named said they were advised to go home since there was no class.

"Gi-advicean pud mi nga mag school hopping sa daw kay kulang pa ug teachers. Nagbilin lang mi ug number namo para icontact mi nila kung OK na (We were advised to check out other schools and that they would only contact us if everything's okay)," she said.

She said school hopping means they will have to check out the schools nearer their residence.

"Ang ila man gud daw priority kay mga bata nga taga diri ra sa duol nagpuyo. So kami nga taga-Buhangin giingnan mi nga didto na lang mangita (We were told that they prioritize kids living nearby. Since we're from Buhangin, we were advised to look for a school there instead)," she said.

However, Myra said she prefers her child to stay at home and wait for the school's advice than to go school hopping.

"Every year na lang man ingon ani ilang problema. Wala na tay mabuhat ani. Ok ra man unta to last time pero tungod aning K to 12 ba dili na hinuon sila prepared (That's been the problem ever since. We can't do anything about it. It was better last time since they are not prepared with this K to 12)," she said.

As of Monday, there were more than 4,800 enrollees at KTMSES from kinder to grade six.

Roma said the number of students increased by 500 compared to last school year.

Project Hope not accredited

Meanwhile, parents who enrolled their children to the city's Project Hope complained that they were not entertained during the enrolment because their previous schools were not accredited by DepEd.

However, Gina Molon, CSSDO children's concerns and welfare social worker, clarified that children from Project Hope should be accepted to elementary schools, provided that the previous school is accredited by the DepEd.

She said students who come from the daycare centers should be enrolled in Grade 1 as long as they undergo a School Readiness Assessment test and come from a DepEd-accredited public or private institution.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 03, 2014.

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