To help address the shortage of classrooms nationwide, Senator Win Gatchalian is mulling a bill that will allow school buildings to have more than four floors.
“We’re actually studying to file a bill to allow the construction of classrooms in buildings more than four storeys high. There’s a regulation that classrooms are only allowed in buildings up to four storeys high because it’s very difficult for students to go up more than that,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
“But if you can put elevators, if we put other equipment to easily bring students up to the fifth and sixth floors, we can conserve land and we can build more, especially in urban areas,” Gatchalian added.
While classrooms in provinces and rural areas would have as few as 20 to 30 learners, Gatchalian pointed to the perennial problem of overcrowded classrooms in urban areas, where one classroom would have as many as 50 to 60 learners.
It is a challenge for the government to build classrooms in urban areas because of the price of land, Gatchalian said. In contrast, land is abundant in rural areas where additional classrooms can be put up, he added.
The shortage of classrooms was emphasized when classes opened for School Year 2022-2023, which marked the return to face-to-face classes for many of the 28.7 million learners enrolled nationwide. All public and private schools are expected to implement face-to-face classes five days a week starting November.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education is eyeing a budget of P86.5 billion for the construction of classrooms for 2023.