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DepEd: No more triple shifts in public schools

This coming school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) said it will do away with “triple shifts” in all public elementary and high schools nationwide.

Education Secretary Mona Valisno said 97 percent of 44,114 public elementary and secondary public schools already have “single shift” or “one shift” while there is a remaining 2.18 percent that still practice “double shifts” or “two shifts.” “The double shift is inevitable since we want to accommodate all the children who want to enroll but DepEd is trying its best to eliminate the double shift to ensure quality of education,” she explained.

In an interview, DepEd Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya revealed that compared to the previous years, there is a significant decrease in the number of schools that implement the double and triple shifts. “As much as possible, we don’t want to implement double or triple shifts this school year to maximize learning among students and lessen the burden of the teachers in handling their classes as well,” he said.

Based on the reports of DepEd, there is a steady decline in the number of schools engaging in double shifting and triple shifting. In fact, last year, there were only 100 schools that implement the triple shifting. “But for this school year, we are finally eliminating these last 100 schools,” he said.

Malaya also noted that the schools that engage in double and triple shifts are those located in Metro Manila and in other urban areas nationwide. “Those schools in the provinces, majority of them have been implementing one shift already,” he explained.

Data released by the DepEd-Physical Facilities and Schools Engineering Division (PFSED) revealed that 3,613 additional classrooms are expected to be completed before the classes start Tuesday, which will augment the 429,390 existing classrooms. Malaya said that the Department is looking at a total of 10,000 new classrooms to be completed before this year ends.

Overall, Malaya concluded that the opening of classes in the elementary and secondary level in public schools next week is more manageable. This, according to him, was made possible by the accelerated construction of classrooms by DepEd in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

For Susan Lambino, mother to incoming third year high school student Michael and incoming freshman student Liza, the elimination of triple shifts is a very good news. “My son used to belong in the 4 to 9pm shift when he was in second year. It was so hard to force him to go to school since it is already late in the afternoon,” she explained in Filipino.

In the triple shifting, classes start at 6 to 11 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. while in the double shift, classes start from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) national chairman Benjo Basas said that it would be more ideal to have one shift in all grade and year levels. “We are one with DepEd in accommodating all children who wish to go to school but we would also want to remind them that quality of instruction should be the utmost priority,” he said.

TDC said that with the elimination of triple shifts, teachers will be forced to accommodate more students in the morning and afternoon shifts. “We have to make the necessary adjustments to accommodate all the enrollees while ensuring that quality of learning will be given to them as much as possible,” Basas explained.

Currently, there is 1:45 classroom to student ratio but it is expected that there will be 1:60 ratio because the estimated enrollees for SY 2010-2011 are around 23.43 million compared to 22.39 million in SY  2009-2010.

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