22-M More Students Troop to Schools Today; New Curriculum Takes Effect in Elementary schools.(Main News)

Article excerpt

Byline: JOEL C. ATENCIO

A total of 22 million students in all levels troop to their classrooms nationwide today, the third batch of students for schoolyear 20022003, with the elementary ones facing a new line of subjects under the Restructured Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC).

Traffic enforcers under Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando are expected to have their hands full in directing vehicular traffic and pedestrians in school areas, especially in Metro Manila.

A rally by militant student group is expected this morning at the University Belt Area (UBA) in Manila on the first day of the implementation of the new curriculum.

Education Secretary Raul Roco said Metro Manila mayors and the MMDA have coordinated with DepEd-NCR director Dr. Corazon D. Santiago, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) NCR director Dr. Amelia Biglete and Philippine National Association of School Securities Organization (PHILNASSO) president Jose S. Dino as well as Philippine Association of State Univerities and Colleges (PASUC) Dr. Feliciano Rosete, and Metro Manila Association of School Securities Organization (MASSO) president Eduardo "Bong" Masangcay for the smooth opening of classes.

Also all set for today's opening are Philippine Normal University (PNU) under Dr. Nilo L. Rosas and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) under Dr. Benjamin Tayabas. Both schools have asked their students to wear the proper uniform and pin their IDs on the first day of classes.

There are 203 class days in public elementary and secondary school school calendar. School closes April 8, 2003. In the tertiary level, most began classes June 3 and will end March 8, 2003.

Roco said more than 19 million students are expected to be in the public and private elementary and secondary schools nationwide. "Of these, 12.1 million are in public elementary school while 4.7 million are in public secondary schools," he said.

In private elementary school, there is an estimated 929,178 students and 1.3 million are in private secondary, according to Roco.

Roco said the restructured curriculum which takes effect starting today calls for the reducing the core courses to five from eight. These are Filipino, English, Science and Math, which are known as the tool subjects; and Makabayan, the laboratory of life. It is designed to help the students develop better interpersonal skills, empathy with cultures, vocational efficiency and problem-solving and decision-making skills.

Components of the elementary Makabayan include Social Studies, Home Economics, Music, Art, Health Education and Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC). The high school Makabayan include social studies, home economics, music, art, health education and GMRC.

"Some 52 million textbooks have been distributed nationwide. This includes 4.24 million new math books for 1st to 3rd year high school students. Some 60,000 lesson plans for every high school math teacher have been printed while some 30 million textbooks will be printed by October. Public school students will on the average have five textbooks by year-end," Roco said.

The education chief said DepEd constructed 1,482 new classrooms and rehabilitated 1,831 from July 2001 to May 2002 in the poorest provinces under a World Bank loan.

He added that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) constructed 2,831 classrooms from May 2001 to April 2002 with the P2 billion provided by the budget while the Local Government Units (LGUs) have also constructed classrooms.

He said 660,802 seats were delivered to the public schools.

Roco said 15,000 teachers were hired for this schoolyear and there are some 450,000 nationally paid public school teachers. "While the national teacher student ratio is 1:37, the macro numbers are misleading. In urban areas, there are classes with more than 60 students. …