SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
A technical working group (TWG) of the House committee on basic education and culture has started fine tuning House Bill 473, which seeks to regulate the class size in all public schools in the country.
The proposed measure, also known as the "Public School Class Size Law of 2016” also seeks to prescribe additional compensation for teachers handling large size classes.
In a meeting presided by TWG head Rep. Mark Go, the bill’s author, Rep. Antonio Tinio explained that oversized classes in public school classrooms is against the constitutional guaranteed right of Filipino school children to quality education.
He pointed out that classrooms in the country are among the most crowded in Asia per data of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics.
“The country’s public elementary schools’ average class size of 43.9 is far bigger than Malaysia’s 31.7, Thailand’s 22.9, Japan’s 23.6, and India’s 40,” said Tinio.
The same data shows that public high schools in the country have even larger average size of class of 56.1 students.
It is no longer uncommon, according to Tinio, to see teachers handling classes with 60 to 80 students. He said an oversized class is one of the main causes of the marked decline in the quality of education provided by our public schools.
To remedy the situation, the bill limits the size of each class to 35 students, to be handled by a single teacher. Any class with not more than 35 students shall be considered a standard class.
Any class with more than 35 students up to a maximum of 50 students shall be considered a large class. In no case shall a class size in excess of 50 students be permitted.
A teacher handling a large class shall be entitled to a large class honorarium equivalent to one percent of her daily rate for every student in excess of the standard class size of 35.
The provision was in recognition of the right of the public school teachers to be protected from unregulated increases in class size as well as to compensation commensurate to their actual workload.
The measure mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to promulgate the rules and regulations necessary for the initial implementation of the Act.
An amount of P5 million shall be appropriated for the initial implementation of the Act. Thereafter, such amount as may be necessary for the continued implementation of the Act shall be included in the appropriations of DEpEd in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA). / E. A. Galvez