Students in public school unsatisfied with state of schools

According to the survey, students complain about uncomfortable and overcrowded classrooms, insufficient textbooks and unsanitary comfort rooms.


MANILA – Students of Batasan Hills National High School in Quezon City gave the performance of the Department of Education (DepEd) a failing mark in terms of providing the necessary infrastructure, learning materials and support to make schools conducive for learning.

Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns conducted a survey last Friday, June 6 to know what students think about the conditions of their schools, one week after class began on June 2. They asked the students to “Like” or “Unlike” the DepEd’s performance.

There were 140 respondents to the survey, with 110 students choosing “unlike” and only 30 students “liked” the state of their school.

The respondents also filled up questionnaires with the following questions: 1) Is the class ratio 1:35 students 2) Are the restrooms clean 3) Is it comfortable and not hot inside the classroom 4) Does every student have their own chair 5) Are the books complete and in good condition, Kharlo Manano, secretary general of Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, said in a phone interview with

(Photo courtesy of Salinlahi/
(Photo courtesy of Salinlahi/

According to the survey, students complain about uncomfortable and overcrowded classrooms, insufficient textbooks and unsanitary comfort rooms.

Manano said they also asked the respondents to write their grievances regarding the conditions in their school to President Benigno S. Aquino III. “There was one respondent who had a very moving response: ‘I just want to tell the President to help the youth, the hope of the nation and the schools that don’t have enough materials. We hope you can help us with the chairs, tables and electric fans. We also hope that you give the students enough books so that we can study well. I know that you came from a private school but you should understand our situation. While you are sitting in your fixed chair and exquisite palace, we, in our school are suffering.’”

“Back in February of this year, BS Aquino bragged that his administration has already resolved the 66,000 classroom backlog of the previous administration and that there are no more shortages of classrooms for the present school year. However, four days ago, Malacañang retracted this claim as news reports of overcrowded classrooms began to pour in. Mr. Aquino is therefore not serious in addressing this perennial problem of our educational system,” said Manano.

“The devastation brought by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) was even used as an excuse for yet another wave of classroom shortages that they need to address,” he added.

Salinlahi cited the 2011 report of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) Education Task Force, noting that the classroom shortage for the next five years ranges from 94,000 to 124,000 units, including probable destruction to be caused by disasters.

According to the report, the cost of filling up the shortage would amount to P72 billion ($1.643 billion) to P99 billion ($2.259 billion) a year. Salinlahi said that for this year, DepEd had only released P7.35 billion ($167 million) for the construction of classrooms in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

The survey was the first of Salinlahi’s month long series of surveys that it will conduct in schools in Metro Manila. Manano said they will also tap their partner organizations in other regions to conduct the same survey to know what the students think of the real situation in their schools. They expect to have the initial resulst of the survey on June 25. “These results will be documented and will be presented to the DepEd. The survey was also conducted to let the DepEd know what the public school system really needs straight from the students and not only through the hotline that they set up in their offices,” Manano said.

Manano said their survey will culminate in their campaign against military’ attacks on schools which were set up through the efforts of people’s organizations in different provinces. “This, amidst the glaring failure of the Aquino government to provide for children’s right to education,” Manano said.

According to Manano, their group has documented reports from far-flung communities in Mindanao, of schools set-up by the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, a church-based NGO, and Salugpungan Ta’tanuIgkanugon, an organization of Manobos in Davao del Sur, being used as military detachments bythe Armed Forces of the Philippines. Similar cases have also been documented in Surigao del Sur, Compostela Valley, South Cotabato and Davao City.

“The systemic abandonment by the government of its responsibility to provide for children’s basic rights, especially education, is clearly shown in the children’s verdict on how the government handled the opening of classes, and the continuing attacks on schools. We will gather and consolidate more data in the coming weeks. We enjoin child rights advocates, adults and children to collectively hold the Aquino government accountable for neglecting our children’s right to a better future,” Manano said. (

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