Public Elementary Schools exist in most of the barangays of Mercedes except in Barangay Catandunganon. Mercedes Elementary School and San Roque Elementary School, being situated in the poblacion area, caters the pupils living in the poblacion barangays. With the presence of elementary schools in almost every barangay and being mostly located in barangay centers, access in primary education is not a difficulty for students both in rural and urban barangays.
In regard to school facilities, all nineteen (19) public elementary schools have no school laboratory and shops. Only Mercedes Elementary School, Tagontong Elementary School, Gaboc Elementary School and Colasi Elementary School have a library facility, but all are in poor condition. Likewise, School Clinics are present only in Mercedes Elementary School, Colasi, Masalongsalong and Tarum Elementary School. Said facilities are also in poor condition. Comfort rooms and playgrounds are present in all public elementary schools though some schools especially in rural barangays reported insufficiency of comfort rooms.
The total area of elementary schools results to a total of around 20.8440 hectares. Mercedes Elementary School occupied the biggest area of almost 1.68 hectares while Colasi Elementary School has the smallest area of only 89 square meters.
Our Lady of Holy Bible is the only private school operating in the municipality, located in Barangay 2. It occupies an area of around 0.100 hectares and with complete facilities.
For Secondary Schools, there are only seven (7) Public Secondary Schools existing in the municipality. Of these secondary schools, Mercedes High School serves as the Technical-Vocational School.
Also, laboratory rooms and comfort rooms are mostly present in the school although in poor condition.
STUDENT-TEACHER AND STUDENT-CLASSROOM RATIO BY LEVEL
The average teacher-student ratio in Mercedes is 1:37 student-teacher ratio and 1:36 student-classroom ratio for elementary and 1:43 student-teacher ratio and 1:47 student-classroom ratio for secondary level, respectively. This is somehow below the target of the Department of Education of 1:35 student-teacher and student-classroom ratio for elementary and 1:40 for high school level.
Among the elementary schools, only Mercedes Central Elementary School and Hinipaan Elementary School met the standard teacher-student ratio. Almost all other schools fell below the standard, particularly Lalawigan Elementary School with teacher-student ratio of 1:49 and Quinapaguian Elementary School with 1:47. Expectedly, the Our Lady of Holy Bible, being the only private school with limited number of enrollees posted a teacher-student ratio of only 1:12.
For secondary schools, Mercedes National High School, now Mercedes Technical-Vocational School and San Roque National High School posted the highest teacher student ratio of 1:50 and 1:52, respectively. However, It could be noted however that Lalawigan High School, Pablo Villafuerte High School in Barangay Matoogtoog and Pambuhan High School, being located in the rural barangays posted a teacher-student ratio of only 1:29, 1:35 and 1:36, respectively.
Comparatively, for student-classroom ratio, out of the nineteen (19) public elementary schools, only Tagontong and Colasi Elementary School met the standard ratio. This means that there is a notable shortage of school classrooms for the 17 schools in Mercedes District.
Moreover, secondary schools posted an average student-classroom ratio of 1:44. Only Caringo High School met the standard with its 1:31 student-classroom ratio. Caringo High School was considered an annex school/campus of Basud National High School. But in 2012, the school was considered as a secondary school of Mercedes.
Summary of Student/Teacher ratio for private schools with primary and secondary levels combined reveals that the ratio is one teacher for every eleven students while the ratio for student/classroom is around 13 students per classroom. On the other hand, public schools show the ratio of one teacher per 39 students and around 41 students per classroom.
TERTIARY AND VOCATIONAL/TECHNICAL SCHOOLS BY TYPE AND TOTAL ENROLLMENT
Camarines Norte State College (Mercedes Campus) is the only tertiary school operating in the municipality and offers mostly fishery-related courses. It is located in Barangay San Roque, occupying an area of around 11.3 hectares. For SY 2010-2011, it has total enrollees of 151, fifty nine (59) of whom are male and ninety two (92) are female.
Mercedes High School is now the only Technical-Vocational School in the municipality located in Barangay Del Rosario. For SY 2010-2011, it has total enrollees of 551.
HISTORICAL ENROLMENT BY LEVEL
Generally, the number of enrolment for elementary level has increased from 7,474 in SY 2007-2008 to 8,304 in SY 2010-2011. This shows an increase of around 830 in the number of enrollees in a span of 4 years. However, there are some elementary schools with erratic trend in the level of enrollment. This includes Hamoraon, Hinipaan, Manguisoc, Pambuhan and Lope Manlangit Elementary School.
Among the elementary schools in Mercedes District, Mercedes Central Elementary School has the highest enrollees of 2,554 for SY 2010-2011. This marks an increase of 67 enrollees from SY 2009-2010 level. Comparatively, Lope Manlangit Elementary School has the least number of enrollees of only 107.
For secondary education, the total enrollees for SY 2007-2008 was 2,985 which increased to 3,255 in SY 2010-2011. Among the secondary schools, San Roque National High School has the highest enrollment of around 1,150. It is followed by Manguisoc High School with 571 enrollees. Lalawigan National High School has the lowest number of enrollees of only 233. Caringo High School was originally an Annex of Basud High School. It was only absorbed as part of San Roque National High School in SY 2010-2011.
The table below shows the Summary of Historical Enrolment for the last three school years (2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011) for preparatory, elementary, secondary and tertiary level. For SY 2009-2010, the enrolment for preparatory and Elementary level showed a decrease of about 28% in preparatory and 0.4% in elementary but then increase was observed for SY 2010-2011. For the secondary level, there is a notable increase of enrolment in all the school years. For the tertiary level, the number was only 109 to 115 for the three consecutive years considering that the data gathered only came from CNSC Mercedes Campus and not including those enrolled in other colleges/universities outside the municipality.
HISTORICAL ENROLLMENT PARTICIPATION RATE
Table 40 shows the historical enrollment participation rate in all elementary schools of Mercedes District. In SY 2005-2006, Lanot Elementary School has the highest enrolment participation rate of 99% while the lowest EPR was in Mambungalon Elementary School with only 81.31%.
Starting SY 2006-2007 up to 2009-2010, the trend of enrollment participation rate in most of the schools is steadily growing, and even resulted to more than 100% participation rate in some schools, which means that there are instances that enrollees of a certain school come from other barangays.
For SY 2009-2010, it can be noted that Quinapaguain Elementary School recorded the lowest enrolment participation rate of 92% although it was only a slight decrease for the school compared to its previous years. Lalawigan, Lope Manlangit and Tarum Elementary Schools have a 100% enrolment participation rate.
CURRENT CLASSROOM AND TEACHER NEEDS
In determining the current needs for teachers and classrooms for Year 2010 using the prescribed national standard of 1:35 student-teacher and student-classroom ratio for elementary, and 1:40 for high schools, shows the current need for 27 classrooms and 18 teachers for elementary, and 12 classrooms and 5 teachers for high school, respectively.
This is particularly in schools with high enrollment. Also, particular results of current classroom need only applies to needed new classroom buildings and not considering the number of dilapidated classrooms needing repairs and/or rehabilitation.
PROJECTED CLASSROOM, TEACHER REQUIREMENTS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS BY LEVEL
Linear regression Analysis is the tool used in projecting enrollment. This methodology assumes that enrollment is dependent on time. Using this tool, the projected elementary enrollment for year 2017 is 9,638 and 13,308 in year 2027, while for secondary level, the projected enrollment is 3,617 in 2017 and 4,497 in 2027.
Using this enrolment projection, and taking into account the standard classroom-student and teacher-student ratio, the elementary level would need 275 classrooms and teachers in year 2017 and 380 in year 2027.
Moreover, the secondary level would need 90 classroom and teacher in year 2017 and 112 in year 2027.
However, classroom and teacher need is still based on the number of enrollees in the schools.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND STRATEGIES
1.) Additional teachers and classrooms for elementary and secondary schools in line with the growing population and considering the implementation of K-12 Program of the Department of Education especially in the secondary level.
2.) Improvement and provision of school facilities and additional instructional materials are also needed to maintain the standards and enhance the learning of students.
3.) Some of the strategies and programs for education sector by the Local Government with the support of the Sangguniang Bayan and with coordination with DepEd includes:
a) Accreditation and equivalency Program for Out-of-School Youth that involves partnership in the delivery of alternative learning system (ALS) for marginalized groups.
b) Academic Enhancement Program which aims to evaluate academic performance of pupils in different learning areas and develop their skills to represent the district in the division level.
c) Scholarship Program for Fisheries providing scholarship grant to all interested high school graduates of Mercedes who will be taking fishery courses.
d) Technical-Vocational Skills Training Program for OSY, High School Graduate and Adult for the enhancement of technical capability of OSY and high school graduates through the promotion of dual training system where they will be assisted during the conduct of training and during OJT in partnership with TESDA and Technical Vocational School.
e) Bawat Pamilya, may Graduate Program providing access to tertiary education of at least one member of the family to invest in human resource and empower the family
f) Aid/Assistance to Elementary/Secondary Schools which provides assistance to various schools in the delivery of educational services
g) Municipal Scholarship Program which involves provision of tuition and monthly allowance to qualified Scholar ng Bayan
h) Scholarship Program for ALS Passers giving them automatic coverage to the LGU Scholarship Program
i) Open High School Program providing opportunity to all elementary graduates and qualifiers of the Phil. Educational Placement Test (PEPT) who are high school age to complete their secondary education
“Mercedes is a world class tourism hub and a key player for the production of renewable energy in Camarines Norte and the Center of Excellence for Fisheries in the Bicol Region where god-loving, empowered and health citizenry are living in a preserved and protected natural environment, with well-planned and functional infrastructure, and a vibrant economy under a dynamic and transparent leadership where everyone adheres to the principles of sustainable development.”