DepEd eyes 3-day school week in MM

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - May 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Education (DepEd) is considering the implementation of a three-day school week in some schools in Metro Manila to address overcrowding.

Classes in public pre-school, elementary and high schools will resume on June 2.

DepEd-National Capital Region director Luz Almeda said they could implement a double-shift schooling (Plan A) or a three or four-day school week (Plan B) in the “most congested schools.”

“We are better prepared. We have planned very well to make sure principals are on top of the situation in case there will be a surplus of enrolment,” she said.

“If there will be additional enrollees, we will let them stay in holding areas either in a covered court or open space so regular classes can already start,” she added.

In double shifting, classes are held from 6 a.m. to noon and from noon to 6 p.m.

Under a three-day school week, classes will be on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Almeda said only a small number of public schools will be affected by the three-day school week but pointed out that it would only be implemented in a worst-case scenario.

“In the meantime, we have no list of schools which will implement the three-day school week yet,” she said.

She said based on the consultations conducted by school superintendents, a number of parents prefer double shifting.

Among the 20 most congested schools in Metro Manila are Sampaloc Site II Elementary School (Parañaque City), Payatas B Elementary School (Quezon City), Bagong Tanyag Annex B (Taguig City), President Corazon Aquino Elementary School (Quezon City), Bagong Tanyag Elementary School Annex A (Taguig City), San Diego Elementary School (Quezon City), Bagong Silang Elementary School (Caloocan City), Caloocan North Elementary School (Caloocan City), Don Galo Elementary School (Parañaque City) and Libis Baesa Elementary School (Baesa Annex).

Sto. Niño National High School (Marikina City), Tinajeros National High School Acacia Annex (Malabon City), Potrero National High School (Malabon City), Holy Spirit National High School (Quezon City), Catmon Integrated School (Malabon City), San Bartolome High School (Quezon City), Captain Albert Aguilar National High School (Las Piñas City), Kalayaan National High School (Las Piñas City), North Fairview High School (Quezon City) and Sampaguita High School (Caloocan City) are also congested.

Almeda said the total enrollees in public schools in Metro Manila this school year is 2,172,576 or about .27 percent up from last year.

There are around 900,000 students in private schools, she said.

DepEd assistant secretary Jesus Mateo said the schools that will be directly affected by major road projects have the discretion to adjust their schedules.

He said public schools generally serve nearby areas so their students don’t contribute to traffic in major thoroughfares.


Heightened alert

Meanwhile, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will deploy 2,000 police officers to secure students who will troop to schools on Monday.

Senior Superintendent Ariel Arcinas, chief of NCRPO regional operations, said the NCRPO was placed on a “heightened alert status” as part of security preparations for the school opening.

He said Police Assistance Desks would be put up in various Metro schools colleges and universities.

“We have to secure all our pupils and students from criminals such as pickpockets and snatchers,“ Arcinas said.

He said undercover police officers would also be deployed aboard buses, FX shuttles and passenger jeepneys to deter criminal elements.

“We will be everywhere, especially our police detectives who would secure students and other commuters inside buses and passenger jeepneys,” he said. – With Mike Frialde

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