The Ogena Administration implemented the “merging of classes,” or what is now known as “large class policy,” in some colleges and departments of various units of the Philippine Normal University (PNU) System this first semester. The primary reason for such move is to minimize the expenses of the university.
More so, some faculty members and student leaders protested the said scheme and lamented that no due consultation was done. The PNU Student Government–Manila (SG), in a statement, said that the merging of classes is not applicable and effective for innovative instructional delivery. The SG added that this kind of method is an insult to PNU’s stature as a National Center for Teacher Education (NCTE).
In the random survey that the SG conducted, 82% of the student respondents said “no” to the merging of classes, while 18% opined “yes.” Reasons cited by the students who negated the merging are inadequate and overcrowded rooms, shorter student attention span, and highly-diffused student interaction, among others. The SG pointed out that such act is a direct effect of the education budget slash. The SG furthered that the Aquino government is neglecting its duty to provide sufficient budget to State Universities and Colleges (SUC) and is abandoning its full responsibility for quality education for all.
For the longest time in the University’s history, the ideal teacher-student ratio has been one is to 25. However, in the case of the large class policy, two to four classes are merged, resulting to a ratio of one faculty is to around 100 students. This compares starkly to the United Nations’ recommended class size: that the smaller the ratio between teacher and student, the more time and attention can be accorded to each student.
Last year, PNU received a 23.59% budget cut, the biggest in terms of percentage. This is equivalent to 92 million pesos. Because of this, the University is forced to resort to alternative means of coping with the slash in fund allocation.
However, according to Mr. Carlo Ronduen II, PNU SG Manila Educational Development and Research Committee Chairperson, such move denigrates the quality of a classroom learning experience. He added that the merging is an illusory solution being peddled by the administration and that it will only contribute to the deterioration of state education. Ronduen further noted that aside from PNU, other SUCs such as the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna have previously converted its foundation and general education courses to large size classes of about 160 students to minimize also the expenses of the university.
by: the editor