Cotabato City (August 4, 2015) – Close to 900 new classrooms all over the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) worth over P500 million will be built starting this year.
Dr. John Magno, the region’s Department of Education (DepEd) secretary, said P191 million was also earmarked for water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in ARMM’s schools. He reiterated that “Bangsamoro children deserve quality teachers and school facilities.”
The support of the Australian government through its Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM-ARMM) program, he said, helps a lot to deliver quality education in the region.
The BEAM-ARMM is a comprehensive education and youth development program designed to contribute to the alleviation of poverty and to promote peace in the region.
It delivers accessible and healthy learning facilities, quality teachers, learning materials, and a protective environment for children in need, through effective, transparent, and accountable management systems.
To date, 123 classrooms were already rehabilitated and 50 new classrooms were constructed by BEAM-ARMM across the region benefitting more than 8,000 student-beneficiaries each school year.
A series of supplemental training to over 9,000 teachers on Enhanced Basic Education Curriculum under the K to 12 program were also conducted. This initiative also provides skills training to out-of-school youth and senior high school students.
“My son is one of the lucky students who will occupy the newly rehabilitated classrooms at Portholland Elementary School,” said Hja. Thandzmahal Idan, 35 years old and mother of Al Jake Idan, Grade 3 student in the town of Maluso in Basilan. Maluso is one of the recipients of projects under DepEd-ARMM and BEAM-ARMM program.
Amella Jalani, Portholland school head, said the school has 28 classrooms but only 16 are being used. “Last school year, 1,900 students merged to only 16 classrooms, which resulted in a classroom-student ratio of over 1:100,” said Jalani. She underscored that this problem results in students skipping class and leads to severe absenteeism.
Based on data from the DepEd’s Enhanced Basic Education Information System, ARMM has 989 schools classified as “black and red” in 2012. The black schools are without existing instructional classrooms while red schools need either classroom repairs, or new classrooms.
Five of Portholland’s old classroom buildings were renovated while two new classrooms were constructed by the BEAM-ARMM. (Bureau of Public Information)