UST SENIOR High School (SHS) is set to double its enrolment to 10,000 students with the start of Grade 12 next academic year, raising some concern over the adequacy of facilities.
SHS Faculty Club President Jonathan Geronimo called for better planning in anticipation of the increase in population of SHS students.
“Unti-unti nang nagkakaroon ng pasilidad para sa mga estudyante natin lalo na sa susunod na taon na magkakaroon na ng Grade 12, pero kailangan [pa ring] planuhin nang maayos,” Geronimo told the Varsitarian.
SHS faculty member Crizel Sicat said teachers have the option to use “alternative teaching opportunities,” which will require students to submit school work through field activities or online, because of the lack of classrooms.
The SHS nearly reached its initial target of 5,000 students, enrolling a total of 4,910 students in July 2016. For Academic Year 2017-2018, the SHS expects 10,000 students to enroll in Grades 11 and 12.
SHS Principal Pilar Romero said initial problems in the program were handled effectively with the help of the UST administration.
“We are efficiently and effectively managing the current [problems] because we have been trained to do so and we have the support of the University administration,” Romero said in an email.
‘Satellite enrollment’ proposed
Geronimo said one way to ease the classroom shortage is for the SHS to implement a “satellite enrollment system,” in which Grade 12 students take classes in colleges whose programs are related to their respective strands.
“Ang mga Grade 12 students ay puwedeng [mag-aral] na doon sa mga kolehiyo nila para mas ma-expose na sila sa mga disciplines nila at ma-integrate sa courses na gusto nila para sa kolehiyo,” Geronimo explained.
With the expected surge in enrollees next academic year, Sicat said the SHS administration would have to hire more faculty members for the equal distribution of teaching units.
Rene Luis Tadle, head of Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines and former vice president of the UST Faculty Union, said the first year of the K to 12 basic education reform program was not properly executed because of the lack of resources and preparation.
“The whole purpose of the objective of K to 12 appears to be defeated because of lack of teachers, lack of facilities etc. If this is happening to UST how much more in other [institutions]?” he said.
Tadle was part of the group of teachers and parents that petitioned the Supreme Court to put the K to 12 program on hold. The high tribunal denied their request for a temporary restraining order in March 2016.