By: Ryian L. Araneta
Too many students, too few classrooms. One problem in Philippine schools that continue to persist to this day is the shortage of classrooms. In Masbate National Comprehensive High School – Senior High School, this longstanding problem has become more pressing as the school resumes to hold full-blast regular face-to-face classes. This is after one-quarter implementation of the blended learning with a “3-day in, 2-day out” approach at the beginning of the current academic year following the two-year distance learning modality in schools brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In efforts to address the problem, various measures within the school were made. These included having some classrooms partitioned into two, construction of make-shift classrooms, making use of some areas in school, such as the canteen, as temporary classrooms, etc. However, because of the school’s massive influx of new enrollees for the current school year, the issue got worse, thus rendering the said attempts ineffective.
Masbate National Comprehensive High School is known to be the largest school in the entire province with the highest number of enrolment annually. Just like any other school, it endeavors to provide its clientele with the best possible learning place to sustain top-notch education. However, the school’s ability to fulfill this goal has been perceived to be hobbled by its escalating problem with its existing school buildings and facilities that are disproportionate to its number of learners. So, to make up for this lack of classrooms, the school’s Senior High Department has opted to implement the triple-shift system in classes that kicked off last November 07, 2022, Monday.
With the current shifting policy, the school gets to cater to three entirely separate groups of students during a school day. Generally, the first group, who are Grade 11 students, attends class from 6:00 AM until 12:15 PM. The second group’s period runs from 12:00 to 6:15 PM and is made up of Grade 12 students. The third group, which consists of learners from the night class, have their classes from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The first two groups use the same classrooms and facilities in the Annex Campus, while the third group holds classes at the school’s main campus.
On the other hand, teachers are divided into two sessions — morning and afternoon, although some are adopting a flexi-time working arrangement. During morning sessions, teachers usually report to duty from 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM, while teachers in the afternoon session come to work between 10:00 AM to 6:15 PM. Teachers, who handle night classes, have flexible time schedule. Some work a certain number of hours in the morning, take a lengthy break mid-shift, and continue their shift hours later. Others were allowed by the school management to request a modification to their timetable depending on their vacant time and under the condition that they get to complete the required eight hours of work every day.
Although the new time format is radically different from the conventional school hours, the policy’s initial implementation in Masbate National Comprehensive High School – Senior High School has gone well so far. It serves its purpose. Not to discount its inevitable drawbacks as it does involve some compromise, but the pros still outweigh the cons.
Hats off to the management for coming up with the solution. We, however, still look forward to the day when we will, finally, be able to provide children with the best and finest learning space. As John F. Kennedy said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource, and its best hope for the future”.