The Philippines is lacking 40,000 classrooms, the Department of Education said on Tuesday, a day after classes for school year 2022-2023 opened.

In an interview over ANC, DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said the DepEd was addressing the classroom shortage.

“With the strategies implemented by most of our schools, we have lowered the shortage to around 40,000 [classrooms],” Poa said.

Last week, prior to the opening of classes, the DepEd said the country was 90,000 classrooms short.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio earlier said the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of school facilities were not excuses to keep children from returning to face-to-face (F2F) schooling.

“There are no excuses. Hindi na po natin kaya na muling maantala pa ang pag-aaral ng mga kabataang Pilipino,” she said during the program for the National School Opening Day Program at the Dinalupihan Elementary School in Bataan.

“Kailangan na po natin silang maibalik sa in-person learning dahil sa in-person learning, makakakuha ng makahulugan, sapat o wasto, at dekalidad na edukasyon na kailangan nila para sa kalinangan ng kanilang pag-iisip sa pagtatag ng malakas na bansa,” she added.

The DepEd reported on Tuesday morning that 28,797,660 students have enrolled for school year 2022-2023, which is more than its 28.6-million target.

All public and private schools are required to have transitioned to having five days of in-person classes per week starting Nov. 2, 2022. John Ezekiel J. Hirro