DepEd to hire 61,000 new teachers next year
By Leila B. Salaverria Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Department of Education (DepEd) intends to hire 61,000 new public school teachers to finally put an end to the perennial teacher shortage by 2013.
But a teacher’s party-list lawmaker said there were an additional 45,000 teacher positions that the national government still had to fund.
Act Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio on Monday said the 45,000 teachers were hired and were being paid by local government units (LGUs).
Tinio said these teachers the LGUs hired should be included in the national plantilla because they were earning much less than teachers hired by the DepEd.
He said the teacher “shortage” would persist unless the locally hired ones were put on the national roster.
“So there would still be a shortage because these teachers are locally paid. There is a big difference. The nationally paid teachers earn a minimum of P18,000 a month, while the locally paid ones depend on the capacity of the local government units. Some just earn P3,000, some, P5,000,” Tinio said at the House budget hearing on the education department.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the department was acknowledging that 45,000 teachers were locally hired, and that the administration was asking the local governments to continue to hold on to them.
In the meantime, the administration is focusing on filling the actual shortage of 61,510 public school teachers, Luistro said.
After the shortage is filled, the administration will work on getting the locally hired teachers into the national plantilla, the education secretary said. That would come after 2013.
“I, myself, would rather, and the department wishes, that all teachers are on the national plantilla. But when we identified our targets, we identified the shortages as those that are not being met at that time,” he said.
During the budget hearing, Tinio also pitched for higher pay for volunteer kindergarten teachers, as well as for the regularization of all 23,000 of them. The volunteer teachers get a P3,000 honorarium a month, but could get up to P6,000 if they teach two sessions.
Luistro said about 8,000 of them were scheduled to be regularized in 2013.
He also said that when the idea of the volunteer kindergarten teacher was put forward, the concept was that these volunteers would be those who have other sources of income and have the time to help out in public schools or want to serve the community.
But Luistro said the situation became problematic when the volunteers had teaching as his their lone source of income.
In such a situation, the honorarium the teacher gets becomes a challenge, he said.
Education officials on Monday said the department’s P293-billion budget was intended to end the backlog in facilities for public school children.
Aside from hiring 61,000 new teachers, the education department would procure 907,000 seats and 31 million textbooks and other learning materials, Undersecretary Francis Varela said.
The DepEd would also build 90,461 toilets and more than 60,000 classrooms.
The 2013 education budget is also intended to help meet the administration’s target of providing quality education for all, and to help the country achieve its millennium development goals.