Modular tents eyed as ‘catch up’ measure on classroom shortage


By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Shortage of classrooms in public schools in Iloilo remains a problem, and the provincial government is studying the use of modular tents as a “catch-up” plan.

In a press conference, Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said that they are currently assessing the practicality of repurposing emergency medical tents provided by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) as alternative classroom spaces.

On April 16, Defensor conducted an inspection of the medical tents. The inspection was to check ventilation, sturdiness, and other factors to ensure the comfort of students while studying.

“We are trying to see if we can use it as a catch-up measure. The strategy is to have a facility that can expedite our efforts to bridge the gap, especially while some of the classrooms we recently inaugurated are still under construction,” he said.

The PRC medical tents are usually used during natural calamities and outbreaks of diseases.

“If the number of students each year increases, it will take us many years to catch up, and these tents could already provide a faster solution,” he added.

According to the provincial government data, there is currently a shortage of 400 classrooms across the 43 towns in the province.

Defensor emphasized that the idea is still a work in progress as they want to ensure the modular tents’ ventilation aspect and resilience in adverse weather conditions.

“We want to be sure if it is correct. We will make adjustments to its features so that we can maximize ventilation and decrease the heat inside because its material and design are not really for protection in extreme heat,” he said.

Should the tents be deemed a viable option, Defensor said the the budget for their procurement will be sourced from the Special Education Fund (SEF) of the province,

“The strategy is we will check the budget of the Department of Education for 2024 since they have a relatively large amount. Once we have a clearer picture, we will determine the remaining classroom needs and utilize the SEF accordingly,” he explained.