Saturday, July 08, 2006


Only in the Philippines. Or is it?

In the picture, teacher Blesilda Ferrer distributes test papers for her 50 students of a Grade 2 class, packed in a classroom that was a former toilet of the government-run Commonwealth Elementary School in Quezon City, Philippines.

The choked situation in this schoolroom may be taken as symbolic of the Philippine educational system -- too few resources are being used to educate too many students in too little time.

The Department of Education estimates that for 2006, the country needed 10,549 new classrooms, 1.22 million desks, 67.03 million textbooks and 12,131 more teachers to deal with the crush. The Philippines has 87 million people, with the population growing at 1.95 percent a year.