FOR a group of children in Cebu City, they will not only be welcoming a new school year next month but a “renovated” learning environment as well.
After almost three years since its closure, Cebu City officials agreed to reopen on June 5 the Sapangdaku Elementary School (SES) in time for the opening of classes for this school year.
Councilor Joy Augustus Young, deputy mayor for education, made the announcement yesterday after conducting consultations with parents and officials of the Department of Education.
“The temporary school is not conducive for learning and not safe for the school children. We have to make an intelligent decision here as to the risk,” Young said.
It was in June 2014 when former mayor Michael Rama ordered the closure of the school after it was identified as a high-risk, flood-prone area.
The school sits on the bank of the Guadalupe River, which swells during heavy downpour.
One month after the SES was abandoned, classes of the more than 500 students have been transferred to the Sapangdaku Barangay Hall, which was converted into a temporary school.
The previous administration have allocated funds for the purchase of a parcel of land where the new school would be built, but it was never expedited.
This prompted parents and teachers to raise several concerns, particularly on the physical conditions that may affect the students’ studies.
For one, the barangay hall’s limited space cannot accommodate both students and business.
“The parents have been appealing to have the school reopened. They are unhappy that their children are suffering from heat, among others. It’s just not conducive,” said SES Principal Babylin Palban.
Based on the initial agreement during the consultations, only the 240 students from Grades 4 to 6 will use the repaired classrooms in the old school.
The remaining students from kindergarten to Grade 3, on the other hand, will stay in the barangay hall until repair works are finished.
Young told reporters that the plan to reopen the SES was brought about after he suggested that the students be transferred to the Guadalupe Elementary School.
Palban explained that while the neighboring school would provide a better learning environment for the students, the parents lamented that it would be more expensive for them.
“Also, most of the parents studied in the same school that’s why they don’t want to give up on the school and want it reopened for their children,” she said.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on May 24, 2017.
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