ACT PRESS RELEASE
MANILA—Less than a week before the start of classes in public schools, ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro urged the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to address the shortage of teachers and school support staff by creating enough teaching and non-teaching positions and ensuring their immediate hiring.
“There is still a shortage of 5,858 teachers since the approved 2018 budget created only 75,242 new teaching positions for school year 2018-2019 out of the 81,100 teaching items requested by DepEd,” Tinio revealed. He noted that no new Special Education teaching positions were created. The proposed 1,944 items for Special Education were not granted along with more than 3,000 and 900 items for elementary and junior high school, respectively.
The solons raised that they still receive reports of contractual teachers hired through the Local School Board funds to compensate for the shortage of nationally paid teachers. They reminded DepEd that these teachers should be prioritized when hiring for the national posts in accordance to the provision in the General Appropriations Act.
“However, even if all of the proposed positions were granted and filled in addition to the 687,229 public school teachers nationwide in 2017, our staffing condition will still be far from the ideal,” he said. According to the 2016 United Nations Human Development Report, the Philippines has a primary school teacher-pupil ratio of 1:31. “This is a far bid from the ratio of 1:11 in Malaysia, 1:15 in Thailand, 1:17 in Indonesia, 1:19 in Vietnam, and even 1:28 in Myanmar. In short, if we are to be at par with the standards of our neighboring countries’ teacher-pupil ratios, we have to double the number of teaching items created and teachers hired.”
“In addition to the lack of teachers, students, teachers and school administrators also suffer due to the lack of school support staff,” Castro said. Citing 2017 DepEd data, she revealed that with 687,229 teachers and 38,284 non-teaching personnel and support staff, there is just one person to support 18 teachers in all the operations of public schools nationwide. “This dire situation leads to overwork of public school teachers who are already receiving meager salaries and are so accustomed to shelling out of their own pockets in order to provide for their classroom needs. It also contributes to the general decline of the quality of education.”
“For instance, the task of entering student data in the Learner Information System costs teachers several sleepless nights. This would not have been the case if only the government provides each school enough registrars. Most public schools do not have items for school nurses, guidance counselors, custodians and canteen managers, so DepEd assigns the tasks of these personnel to teachers or hires contractual personnel. In violation of state workers’ right to security of tenure, DepEd hired 8,492 Job Order employees in 2017,” she lamented.
“We remind the Duterte administration of its constitutional duty to provide decent pay, working conditions and security of tenure to state workers. We demand DepEd and DBM to address the shortage of teaching and non-teaching personnel and other perennial problems in the education system by creating more items and including the actual funding needs of schools in their budget proposal. We enjoin our fellow legislators to champion our people’s right to free quality education especially this upcoming 2019 budget deliberations,” the solons ended. # nordis.net