More Than One Million Filipino Students Have Classmates At Different Grade Levels

The Philippine Department of Education says more than one million students are enrolled in multigrade classes, where three or more grade levels are taught by a single teacher.

AsianScientist (Mar. 30, 2012) – Should a teacher cancel a class if there are only a few enrollees? And should a student drop out if the school is far from home or if there are insufficent teachers and classroom?

The Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) says no. Instead, it has found one way to solve this problem, by holding multigrade classes.

In the Philippine public school system, classes with two grade levels inside a single classroom taught by the same teacher are called combination classes. Classes with three grade levels conducted in one classroom taught by a single teacher are called a multigrade or multilevel classes.

Figures from DepEd show that there are close to a million enrollees in multigrade classes across the country.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said most of the students attending multigrade classes belong to isolated and financially challenged communities, are indigenous peoples, and reside in far-flung mountains and islands where schools are far apart from each other.

The small number of students for each grade level, the shortage of teachers, the distance from the community to the nearest school, and the inadequacy of funds and classrooms are reasons that necessitate the organization of multigrade classes, he explained.

This means that children with different skills and abilities, developmental levels, and needs are mixed in a class under the guidance of one teacher.

“This is part of our thrust to democratize access to education and make the learning experience inclusive to as many sectors. In effect, we are bringing more students to school,” Luistro explained.

“If a class does not meet the required number of enrollees and therefore it is not viable to conduct a class of limited number of pupils, the supposed enrollees are merged into a single class and taught by one teacher,” he added.

Although the DepEd has always recognized the existence of multigrade classes, it was only in 1990 that the department started to formally acknowledge multigrade classrooms, in keeping with the goal of Education For All.


Source: Philippine Department of Education.
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