In a string of problems reported during the opening day of school—probably for media hype—another challenge is facing students and teachers who suffer from bureaucratic incompetence and negligence.
Education department secretary Armin Luistro made rounds in several schools in Quezon City, Metro Manila only to find out that about 7,000 schools are operating without water, 9,000 have no electric power and 4,000 do not have both water and power supplies, ABS CBN News said.
The problem does not stop there. Student congestion is an age-old story.
Take the example of the Payatas C Elementary School. It has a growing pre-school and elementary student population between 2005 and 2011 of 1,978, 1,966, 1,970, 2,468, 2,686 and 2,876, respectively, according to Quezon City government Website.
A table meant for two are shared by four. Some students are not lucky enough to be seated on chairs so they find themselves sprawled on the floor while their faces are only a few centimeters away from the chalkboard.
There is hardly a space in between students. Teachers have to step on top of a row of chairs to be able to move around.
A school nurse said six children vomited on Tuesday due to extreme heat inside the classroom.
The electric fans were entirely useless because there was no electricity.
The helpless students are sweating and fanning themselves endlessly. Power outage means there are also no lights. The kids are studying in darkness.
A fourth grade student wearing only a "sando," a kind of sleeveless undershirt, complained, "It is extremely hot!" [Sobra sobrang init po!].
A volunteer worker compared the poor classroom conditions to the prison cells, "The students' classrooms are worse than the prisoners. The prisons have electricity and water supplies," [Matindi pa sa preso ang kalagayan ng mga estudyante, buti pa sa preso, may kuryente at tubig.], said Ryan Rondilla.
But wait, there's more.
According to a radio report I heard a few weeks ago, there are many schools in the country where kids have to use an umbrella inside the classroom when it is raining because rain water is leaking from the roof.
They also have to deal with flooded classrooms. They walk several kilometers to and from their schools.
Yesterday, I reported on illegal schools in the country.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg, a reflection of the rotten system in the Philippine government.
Details of this report here.