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Bill regulating class size (35) in all Public School, pushed

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Senator Grace Poe filed a bill regulating the class size in all public schools in the country.

This bill seeks to regulate class size, 35 students, in all public schools. This is a measure to help both teachers and learners in maintaining a conducive learning environment and compensating those teachers who handle large classes.

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SENATE Bill. No. 1190
Introduced by Senator Grace Poe

AN ACT REGULATING CLASS SIZE IN ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

EXPLANATORY NOTE

Education is the foundation of our nation. As enshrined in Article XIV, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the “State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all”.

Of the estimated 68 million Filipino aged 10 years of old and over in 2008, 95.6 percent basically literate while the functional literacy rate is at 86.4 percent.1 The high literacy rate in the country was achieved through the campaign of the government, particularly DepEd, to bring more school-age children to school.

However, it is not enough to just bring in students to school. We must ensure that learning actually happens once they are in school. Class size is one factor to consider when evaluating a school’s effectiveness. Education researchers have found that class size reduction in the early grade helps students achieve because there is a greater opportunity for individual interaction between student and teacher in a small class. Based on a large number of studies, smaller classes have witnessed positive and sometimes enduring effects on student achievement, especially for ethnic minority students and students from socio-economic status groups. Studies have indeed shown that elementary schools with large classes were found to be detrimental to student learning.

Unfortunately, limited resources resulted to a worsening shortage of teachers and classrooms. At the start of school year 2018, more or less 70% of the schools in Metro Manila are still implementing double shifts just to be able to accommodate the student population.5 In order to accommodate a growing school-age population, the Department of Education has coped with these shortages by allowing extremely large class sizes.

Classrooms in the Philippines are the most crowded in Asia. Some public schools including Navotas National High School and President Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Metro Manila, Gov DM Elementary School in Imus Cavite, and Malingao Elementary School in Midsayap, Cotabato are just glimpses of the class size problem. The country’s public elementary school’s average class size of 43.9 is far bigger than Malaysia’s 31.7, Thailand’s 22.9, Japan’s 28.6 and India’s 40. In public secondary schools, the country registered an average size of 56.1, higher than Malaysia’s 34, Thailand’s 41.5, Japan’s 33.9 and India’s 39.

Further, oversized public school classes not only deny Filipino school children quality education but also deny teachers just compensation and humane working conditions. In the current system, a teacher handling a class of 70 students is in fact taking on the workload of two teachers, but without receiving any additional compensation. This practice of assigning oversized classes to teachers without extra pay is one instance where they are “overworked yet unpaid”.

This bill seeks to address these concerns by mandating the regulation of class size in public schools and prescribing additional compensation for teachers handling large classes.

SENATE BILL NO. 1190 Introduced by Sen Grace Poe. DOWNLOAD

AN ACT REGULATING CLASS SIZE IN ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFORDeclaration of Policy

It is declared policy of the State to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education. It is likewise declared that the State shall provide just compensation and humane working conditions for public school teachers.

Oversized classes in the country’s public schools adversely affect the learning experience provided to Filipino school children. To ensure access to quality education, it is necessary to establish standards for class size.

For their part, teachers are entitled to protection from unregulated increases in class size as well as to compensation commensurate to their actual workload.

Coverage
This Act shall apply to all classes in all public schools of the Department of Education, and to all classroom teachers therein, whether paid by the national or local government.

Standard Class Size
Each class to be handled by a single teacher shall have a standard size of 35 students. For purposes of this Act, any class with not more than 35 students be considered a standard class.

Large Class Size
Any class exceeding 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.

Large Class Honorarium
A teacher handling a large class shall be entitled to a large honorarium equivalent to one percent (1.0%) of her daily rate for every student in excess of the standard class size of 35.

This formula shall apply to all classes assigned to the teacher during the school year.

Implementing Rules and Regulations
The Department of Education shall within a period of thirty (30) days from the effectivity of this Act, promulgate the rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this Act.

Appropriations
The amount of Five Billion Pesos (P5,000/000) is hereby appropriated for the initial implementation of this Act. Thereafter, such sums as may be necessary for the continued implementation of this Act shall be included in the appropriations for the Department of Education in the annual General Appropriations Act.

Separability Clause
If any portion or provision of this Act is held unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act or any provisions not affect thereby shall remain in force and effect.

Repealing Clause
Any law, presidential decree or issuance executive order, letter of instruction, rule or regulation inconsistent with the provisions of this Act is hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Effectivity
This Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following its complete publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation, Approved.

Source: SBN-1190: Class Size Act



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