Smooth result on first day of classes PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 June 2015 09:45

By Jasmine Mohammadsali

Opening day for schools in Zamboanga City was a smooth affair, education officials said.

In his report to local media Monday morning, DepEd Zamboanga City Schools Division Superintendent Pedro Melchor Natividad said no untoward incidents were reported Monday morning, June 1, which marked the opening of classes for majority of public elementary and secondary schools in the City.

Based on previous enrollment figures, DepEd expects to have around 220,000 public school students officially enrolled for school year 2015-2016.

Natividad credited the smooth opening of classes to the participation of education stakeholders and the months-long preparation of DepEd in the form of early registrations and the Brigada Eskwela and Balik Eskwela programs.

To help facilitate the smooth opening of classes, City Mayor Beng Climaco said the local government is closely coordinating with both the DepEd and security forces for the implementation of Oplan Balik Eskwela.

I would like to assure you that on behalf of the City Government working very hard with Sir Pete with our aspirations and ambitions to give a better quality of education for our children, we have this pledge of commitment to continually ensure a better and brighter future for our children,” said Climaco.

Earlier in the week, Climaco ordered the implementation of one-way street scheme in some roads in Tumaga and Tetuan which lead to schools in anticipation of traffic woes.

Classes for schools in barangays affected by the September 2013 siege have also opened, according to Natividad. For Sta. Barbara, classes for kindergarten and Grades 1 to 2 are held in the Sta. Barbara Central School campus while Grades 3-6 classes remain in the Zamboanga Central School Campus.

“For Mariki, we have Masepla as Annex. There are also remaining pupils at Grandstand in Baliwasan Central School,” said Natividad.

Rio Hondo is conducting its classes in its campus but Natividad noted that enrollment figures are still low compared to figures in the past years.

Meanwhile, the DepEd and the City Government, through the Local School Board (LSB), strive to address education challenges such as the lack of teachers and school facilities.

In terms of teachers, a total of 542 items for teachers is needed for the basic K-10 program. Of this number, 243 items were provided last week by the DepEd national office, leaving 299 items left unfilled.

While the LSB has 90 available items, these cannot be filled because of a standing order from the national office to stop the hiring of LSB teachers, explained Natividad, adding that the division office and the City Government hopes to lodge a request for reconsideration regarding the available LSB items.

In terms of school facilities, 569 classrooms are needed for local schools in Zamboanga City. A total of 127 are currently undergoing construction per monitoring of Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH), leaving a deficit of 442 classrooms.

On the other hand, there is a shortage of at approximately 70,000 seating facilities for schools in the City. Natividad said this shortage will be addressed with the Php 14 M savings of the LSB for its special education fund, which through a resolution requested by Mayor Beng Climaco, will be allocated for school furniture.

Natividad added that the shortages and needs include figures carried over from previous school years. Plans to address and mitigate these shortages, he added, are also dependent on enrollment numbers which will be finalized by end of June. — Jasmine Mohammadsali