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House seeks to limit public school class size to 35 from average of 50

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A technical working group (TWG) of the House of Representatives’ committee on basic education and culture is fine-tuning a measure that seeks to regulate the size of a class in all public schools in the country.

The TWG, headed by Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, tackled House Bill No. 473, known as the “Public School Class Size Law of 2016”, also seeks to prescribe additional compensation for teachers handling large classes.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, author of the bill, said oversized classes in public school classrooms violate the constitutionally-guaranteed right of Filipino students to quality education.

Tinio cited data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Institute for Statistics, stating that classrooms in the Philippines are among the most crowded in Asia.

“The country’s public elementary schools’ average class size of 43.9 is far bigger than Malaysia’s 31.7, Thailand’s 22.9, Japan’s 23.6, and India’s 40,” said Tinio.

“In public high 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,” he added.

The bill provides that each class to be handled by a single teacher shall have a standard size of 35 students. This class size shall be considered as a standard class.

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.

A teacher handling a large class shall be entitled to a large class honorarium equivalent to 1 percent of her daily rate for every student in excess of the standard class size of 35. (PNA)