June 3, 2012
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio today warned that the implementation of the Aquino administration’s K to 12 program would worsen the problems that have long been plaguing the country’s public school system.
“Due to the failure of the Aquino administration to provide adequate funding in the 2012 national budget, the existing shortages in the basic education system will be aggravated by the unmet requirements of K to 12, particularly its Kindergarten component,” said Tinio.
He noted that the influx of around 1.6 million 5 year-old enrollees in Kindergarten this school year will result in a shortage of around 20,000 teachers and 25,000 classrooms solely for the Kindergarten component of K to 12. This has contributed to a worsening of the unmet requirements in public schools. “After two years, the Aquino administration has been unable to close the gaps in basic education resources. For school year 2012, the total shortages for the whole public school system stands at 132,483 teachers, 97,685 classrooms, and 153,709 water and sanitation facilities,” said Tinio.
The legislator denounced the approach used by the Department of Education to cope with the shortage of Kindergarten teachers. “The Deped has turned to massive contractualization, hiring more than 20,000 Kindergarten teachers on one-year contracts of service. This is unprecedented, never before has the Deped hired contractual teachers in such numbers.” Tinio noted that these contractuals are “grossly exploited, since their compensation falls far below minimum wage.” “They are paid a mere P3,000 to P6,000 per month, compared to the P18,549 per month salary of regular teachers. Even the lowest paid government employee is entitled to P9,000 per month. In short, the Deped’s Kindergarten teachers are the lowest paid government employees in service.”
Tinio also criticized the Deped for its “grossly negligent” policy on classrooms for Kindergarten classes. He pointed to Department Order No. 21, s. 2012 (“Policies and Guidelines on the Implementation of the Universal Kindergarten Program”), which directs principals and school heads towards the “exploration of all possible options to provide classrooms for Kindergarten equipped with appropriate facilities such as the school library, home economics building, learning resource center, and other available spaces.”
“In practice, ‘other available spaces’ means that Kindergarten classes will be held under stairwells, in corridors, storage rooms, and under the proverbial mango tree,” said Tinio. “We’re appalled that this is the best that the Deped can do for our schoolchildren.”
“It’s up to Malacañang to explain why K to 12 is so grossly underfunded that it’s undermining whatever promise it has of improving the quality of basic education,” concluded Tinio.#