Teacher, may I go out?
Teacher, may I go out?
SINGKIT - Doreen G. Yu (The Philippine Star) - June 2, 2013 - 12:00am

Last Friday, The STAR turned over the new Corazon C. Aquino High School in Compostela Valley, a six-room school building that will welcome over 300 students when classes open tomorrow.

The new schoolhouse meets the need of the community as students of the Corazon C. Aquino Elementary School move on to higher levels, with the implementation of the K to 12 basic education program. The old high school was destroyed by typhoon “Pablo,” and the students had been holding class in two rooms at the old farmers’ cooperative warehouse. The new building will have classes for grades 7 and 8 and high school up to third year.

The blue and yellow building, built on part of a banana plantation – the land was donated by its owner in an area that did not flood during typhoon Pablo and so will hopefully be safe in future storms – has five classrooms, plus a library and clinic, each with its own comfort room. A complete potable water system has also been installed. This is a vast improvement over my days in grade and high school, when you either held it in until recess time or raised your hand and asked permission to go to the bathroom with the unforgettable line, “Teacher, may I go out?”

These classrooms are furnished with chairs and desks, in addition to things we never had in our classrooms in the neanderthal age: projectors so teachers can flash the day’s lesson on the board; television set and DVD player; a sewing machine and a tabletop oven for technology and livelihood education classes, part of the new curriculum that is not purely academic. What is familiar are the wall fans and stand fans, and a school bell.

I’m sure the children of barangay Osmeña will rush with excitement and exuberance to their new school when the bell rings tomorrow.

Thousands of school children all over the country are, unfortunately, not as lucky as these kids in Compostela. Even as the Department of Education and its partners in the private sector – and there are many of them – are building schools all over the country to meet the shortage in classrooms, it seems like it’s never enough.

Every year thousands are added to the school population, this year estimated at almost 7.5 million, most of them in the public school system. There are over 38,000 public elementary schools and over 7,000 public high schools, and yet there reportedly are over six million out of school youth. The secretary of education has said that the classroom shortage will be wiped out by the end of this year; to be sure, he is a man of great faith, but I have to wonder if by next June there will be room at the school for those six million youths, as well as the I don’t know how many more kids who will – or should – enter kindergarten.   


Your statutes are wonderful, therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts. Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees.  Psalm 119:129-135

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