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The State of Public School Libraries

In elementary schools, there is no allocation for a librarian. In the secondary level, supposedly there should be one librarian for every 1,000 students in a school. Donated books and materials may be available, but there's no professional staff to man the library. There are purportedly satellite learning resource centers, but more often, they are poorly equipped, not functional, and good only during evaluation periods.

—"Our teachers' poor comprehension" by Reuben Ramos (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 18 April 2005)
The excerpt from the letter to the editor quoted above is correct—but not entirely. According to a little-known DECS Order (No. 6, signed by Ricardo Gloria on 22 January 1998) entitled "Policies and Programs for School Library Development," there should be one teacher-librarian for every school with a student population of 500 or less, one full-time and one part-time teacher-librarian for those with 501-2,000, and an additional full-time librarian for every 1,000 students for those that have more than 2,000 students (see Page 3).

The same DECS Order also states that "Library funds shall be 5-10% of the school funds" (see Page 5). Unfortunately, the DECS Order cannot be enforced because a law—and not just an order from a long-gone department secretary—is needed to appropriate funds automatically in public schools in the Philippines.

DECS Order No. 6, s. 1998

If you would like to help public school libraries in the Philippines, forward this post to your congressman (so that a bill can be drafted allocating funds for libraries) or the higher-ups at the Department of Education (so they can review the order and issue an updated one).

Related posts:
Basic Education and Corruption
Librarians as Leaders
Hope for Public School Libraries
Public School Libraries

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