On Coverage and Capacity: A look at school capacity in the Philippines (EduData Part 2)

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Students require rooms, students, and operating budgets in order to receive a proper education. The question is, which resources are in short supply? How does this differ across different parts of the country? Let’s find out how the school system is holding up in this second installment of the EduData Series.

TJ Palanca https://www.twitter.com/tjpalanca

This article is part of the EduData series, which explores the state of the Philippine education system, and what we could do to make it better.

EduData Series

The Philippine population is relatively young, and to ensure that they are competitive in the marketplace when they grow up, we need enough capacity in our schools. In the previous post, we tackled dropout rates and explored where, when, and who are the dropouts in the Philippine Education System. This time, we take a look at educational capacity and whether we are managing the flow of learners effectively.

Capacity Capers

Let’s first take a look at some overall capacity metrics:

Resources required in an educational system consist of (a) teachers, (b) rooms, and (c) budgets. Teacher capacity averages roughly 35 students per teacher, and rooms slightly worse at roughly 40 students per teacher. Teacher capacity is higher but room capacity is lower in secondary school than in elementary school. However, there are still striking disparities in capacity, with some schools reaching 250 students per teacher or room.


While there might be resources placed into the system, the positioning of those resources matters, too. We’ll take a look at the “path of least resistance” of each Philippine city or municipality from the nearest elementary or secondary school.

It would seem that coverage is pretty good. All but one city/municipality is close to an elementary or secondary school. That lone municipality is Kalayaan, in the disputed area of the Spratly islands. Clearly, the educational system is not in a lack of coverage.

Capacity Clusters

We have a dataset composed of thousands of schools, but many of them share the same characteristics in terms of capacity. In order to make sense of this all, we apply a clustering algorithm to automatically group together similar schools. For elementary schools, the clusters are as follows:

I’ve taken the liberty of naming the clusters based on my observation. Take note that these clusters are only defined based on capacity and not on any other metric. Here’s my description of each cluster after a perusal of the data:

For secondary schools, the clusters that I’ve discovered are as follows:

Secondary schools comprise mostly the same clusters, with a few differences:

There you go! A brief study of capacity in the Philippine educational system. In the next part of the series we’ll explore how to reallocate capacity around the system to make do with what we have.

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Text and figures are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Source code is available at https://www.github.com/tjpalanca/tjpalanca.github.io, unless otherwise noted. The figures that have been reused from other sources don't fall under this license and can be recognized by a note in their caption: "Figure from ...".


For attribution, please cite this work as

Palanca (2015, Nov. 29). TJ Palanca: On Coverage and Capacity: A look at school capacity in the Philippines (EduData Part 2). Retrieved from https://www.tjpalanca.com/posts/2015-11-29-edudata-2-coverage-capacity/

BibTeX citation

  author = {Palanca, TJ},
  title = {TJ Palanca: On Coverage and Capacity: A look at school capacity in the Philippines (EduData Part 2)},
  url = {https://www.tjpalanca.com/posts/2015-11-29-edudata-2-coverage-capacity/},
  year = {2015}