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ACT Teachers solon pushes for higher subsidy for SUCs as students hold nationwide strike

23 September 2011 No Comment

PRESS RELEASE
September 23, 2011
 

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio called for a drastic increase in the budget of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to address the shortage of regular faculty in the country’s public higher education institutions.

“There is a gross shortage of qualified regular faculty in all 110 state universities and colleges,” said Tinio. “Congress must address this by allocating the necessary funds.”

Tinio made the call in support of today’s nationwide youth strike against the budget cuts to higher education proposed by the Aquino administration in its 2012 national budget.

“We’re one with the students, faculty, staff, and administrators of the country’s 110 State Universities and Colleges in their call for increased allocations to higher education,” said Tinio.

The ACT Teachers solon proposed an additional Php 2.4 billion for SUCs for the creation of 8,000 full-time faculty positions as an amendment to the 2012 General Appropriations Bill currently under consideration in Congress

Tinio explained that the creation of new teaching positions has not kept pace with the explosive growth of enrollment in SUCs in the past two decades. “Enrollment in  SUCs has more than doubled since 1990, but the number of regular faculty has remained more or less constant in the majority of SUCs.” He cited the case of the Mindanao University of Science and Technology in Cagayan de Oro. It had 185 regular faculty and an enrollment of 4,000 when it opened in 1978. Since then, not a single new faculty item has been added to their roster even though their enrollment has grown to over 9,000.”

Tinio decried what he described as a “de facto moratorium” on the creation of new teaching positions in SUCs. “This has forced SUCs to hire large numbers of faculty on a part-time, contractual basis.

He noted that, of the 40,307 teachers serving in SUCs last year, 12,462 were part-time faculty. “Almost one-third of the teaching force in SUCs are part-time faculty.” In some instances, part-time faculty outnumber their full-time counterparts. He cited the case of  the Polytechnic University of the Philippines with 1,695 part-timers over 1,186 full-timers. “One of the most glaring is J.H. Cerilles State College in Zamboanga del Sur, which has 522 part-timers against 114 full-timers.

He described part-time faculty as among the most exploited among the ranks of teachers. “They are paid a very low hourly rate, giving them an average monthly compensation of around Php 8,000 a month, which is below minimum wage. They have social protection benefits such as GSIS and Philhealth, are not allowed to unionize, and have no job security. It becomes more difficult for our SUCs to attract and retain qualified faculty given such working conditions.”

“In the ongoing public debate on budget cuts to higher education, much has been said about the reduced allocations for maintenance and operations and the zero capital outlay of SUCs,” said Tinio. “This is understandable, given their direct impact on tuition and other fee increases. But the most massive cuts are being made in personnel–specifically the freeze on hiring of regular faculty and the large-scale deployment of part-time, contractual teachers. This is where the biggest costs are cut, through the exploitation of teachers.”

Tinio further noted that budget cuts on teaching personnel have the greatest impact on the quality of education in SUCs. “It directly affects teaching and research, which are the core functions of universities. No new regular faculty items in the context of burgeoning enrollment means larger class sizes, heavier teaching loads, longer teaching hours, drastically reduced time for research and professional development for faculty.” #

References:

ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817) Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)