SAN FERNANDO CITY – The Department of Education Regional Office I (DepEd ROI), through the Policy, Planning, and Research Division (PPRD) recently conducted a study on “Schoolless Barangays.”
The research revealed that out of 3,267 barangays in the four provinces, 116 municipalities, and nine cities of the Region, 989 barangays (30.27%) are without elementary school. There are, however, 564 barangays that have secondary schools.
Consequently, the research also determined the status of the learners from schoolless barangays in terms of access, efficiency, and quality of education during the pre-pandemic School Year 2019-2020.
Likewise, it will guide the top management in the decision-making processes on the Region’s passion to establish schools in the different barangays as provided by the DepEd Order titled, Revised Guidelines on the Establishment, Merging, Conversion, and Naming/Renaming of Public Schools, and Separation of Public-School Annexes in Basic Education.
PPRD Chief Education Supervisor Cecilia P. Rosido, researchers team leader, said that in Region I, there are schoolless barangays specifically in far-flung areas that make accessibility of learners to school a paramount concern.
With limited access to school, learners go to nearby barangays to enroll but eventually drop due to transportation costs and allowance, while others decided not to go to school anymore.
Anchored within the context of the principle, “bringing the school closer to the pupils” Rosido added that Regional Director Tolentino G. Aquino encouraged the PPRD to conduct a survey on schoolless barangays.
Director IV Aquino is contemplating on some interventions to provide the school-aged children in these barangays a wider access and better delivery of enhanced complete basic education.
The provision of the DepEd Order highlighted that there should be at least one elementary school for every barangay and at least one high school for every municipality or city.
With 1,291,071 number of enrollees 60,984 came from schoolless barangays.
Meanwhile, the research revealed that learners outside the catchment area – within a two-kilometer radius and one-kilometer radius from a public school in rural and urban areas, respectively, had more absences compared to those who traveled nearer; hence, the completion of school year decreases.
Those who are walking have lower grades than those who traveled using their own service and private vehicle and those who availed public transportations.
The research recommends the adoption of alternative delivery modes of learning, that may increase participation rate. They include the strengthening of collaboration with the community officials, non-government organizations, and other stakeholders.
The possibility of establishment of new schools in the barangays without schools is as well considered.
The research study was already disseminated to the 14 SDOs.
By Leah L. Olua, PPRD, DepEd ROI