Friday, June 02, 2006

Classroom sufficency stats: ACT reacts, calls Arroyo delusional

News release from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)

Teachers outraged by GMA’s doctoring of classroom shortage figures
May 31, 2006

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers criticized President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for making deceptive claims regarding the shortage of classrooms in the public school system.

At a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Mrs. Arroyo publicly scolded Department of Education Officer-in-Charge Fe Hidalgo for reporting a shortage of 6,832 classrooms based on a classroom-to-pupil ratio of 1:45. Claiming that Hidalgo used the wrong formula for computing the shortage, she urged the Deped OIC to revise her figures. Subsequently, Hidalgo declared that “there is no shortage” if the President’s formula of 1 classroom for every 100 students were used.

“Once more, Mrs. Arroyo reveals her penchant for doctoring numbers,” said ACT chairperson Antonio Tinio. “Evidently, not even the educational system is spared from this administration’s routine ‘massaging’
of key statistics like poverty incidence, unemployment rate, economic growth, and the like, for window-dressing purposes. However, no amount of statistical hocus-pocus will make the very real shortage of classrooms disappear—as we shall all see when schools reopen on June 5.”

“The Department of Education’s own data shows that the shortage of classrooms nationwide stands at 55,145. The problem is so acute, particularly in the urban centers like Metro Manila, that classes are held in two and even three shifts per day with students packed 70 to 80 in a room,” explained Tinio. “Anyone who insists that there is no shortage of classrooms is simply delusional.”

Tinio warned that Mrs. Arroyo’s pronouncement would have dire consequences for the Deped’s schoolbuilding fund. “Up to P20 billion is needed to wipe out the classroom shortage. We can kiss goodbye any hope that such funding will be forthcoming if Mrs. Arroyo’s delusional mindset prevails.”

“How can this government deliver on its obligation to provide quality education to its citizens if the chief executive won’t even admit that there’s a huge classroom shortage and that she’s not doing nearly
enough to address it?”

“Mrs. Arroyo needs a reality check. We challenge her to take a tour of public schools in Metro Manila on June 5,” concluded Tinio. #

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