MANILA, Philippines — Students across the country troop to schools on Monday to learn a very valuable lesson on the very first day of their classes.
At the start of the 2014-2015 school year, 21 million students enrolled in public schools found out the hard way what the Department of Education (DepEd) meant when it said that there’s “no classroom shortage“.
One student curiously asked her teacher on what the word “NO” really means.
“Teacher Emmanuel, ano po ba ang ibig sabihin ng NO?” said Hazel to his teacher. “Diba po WALA, eh bakit nagsisiksikan kami ng mga classmates ko, na sa huling bilang ko eh nasa ninety three (93) na kami, dito sa isang maliit na silid aralan?“
Not knowing what to answer him, Teacher Emmanuel pretended not to hear him and instead changes the topic.
Other students who were not as lucky as Hazel to be assigned a crowded classroom, were instead assigned under a tree.
“Akala ko ba walang classroom shortage, eh bakit dito kami nagklaklase sa ilalim ng puno?” said Ronnie, a grade 3 pupil from an elementary school here in Manila. “Sinama din ba ng napakagaling na DepED sa bilang nila itong puno ng mangga kung saan ako nakaupo ngayon at yung hallway na ginawang classroom, kung saan nandoon ang kapatid kong kindergarten?“
Students who are seated on the floor along the corridors of school buildings are learning, at a very young age, how a corrupt and inept government prioritizes their future.
Shouting at the top of her voice during our interview, kindergarten student Virgie told us, whose voice was barely audible because of the noise the other classes in front of her at the hallway were making; that having several different classes within earshot from where she was sitting was kind of a blessing in disguise.
“If I practice and focus really really hard, I can hear the lessons being taught to the higher-level classes behind me,” she said. “Kindergarten palang ako, alam ko na yung mga itinuturo sa grade 1 at 6.“
So, while she is being taught to “see spot run” and “run spot run“, Virgie will try her best to grasp the basics of grade 1 Araling Panlipunan and grade 6 Algebra, all at the same time.