Comfort Rooms versus Faculty Offices

Due to plumbing and other required fixtures, comfort rooms are more expensive to build than regular offices. Back in 2015, Figueroa and coworkers find that while 50 out of 75 provinces in the Philippines satisfy the recommended number of pupils per classroom only 7 meet the number of toilets necessary for schools. The recent move made by teachers of converting comfort rooms into faculty offices, characterized by the secretary of education as dramatic and touching, seems to illustrate both a lack of awareness of how important comfort rooms are for students in schools and the uniqueness of these rooms when it comes to plumbing and fixtures.

Above copied from
Ligaya Leah Figueroa, Samsung Lim & Jihyun Lee (2016) Spatial analysis to identify disparities in Philippine public school facilities, Regional Studies, Regional Science, 3:1, 1-27, DOI: 10.1080/21681376.2015.1099465

There is no question regarding how much the government is playing catch-up with resources required in basic education. Even with funding, providing these facilities still requires actual construction, and the Philippines simply lacks the capacity to achieve this with a highly centralized bureaucratic system. All of these will therefore take time.

However, time does not excuse us from recognizing what is important. Students are failing to learn to read and do basic math. We need to address this problem now. But we are not. Instead, we see that a few but very vocal group of teachers are also failing to see that comfort rooms are as important as classrooms in schools.

More photos of toilets converted to faculty rooms - copied from Philippine Star