Senator Francis Pangilinan on Sunday called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to intensify the hiring of teachers to ensure that positions funded by the current 2020 budget and its upcoming 2021 appropriations are filled.
“Ang pinakamabuting paraan para parangalan ang ating mga titser at non-teaching personnel ay magarantyahan na may trabaho sila at ang kanilang kapakanan ay pinagtutuunan ng pansin. (The best way to honor our teachers and non-teaching school personnel is to guarantee that they have jobs and that their welfare is protected),” Pangilinan said as he saluted Filipino educators on Teachers’ Month.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) has reported that 748 out of 14,435 private schools nationwide would not be operating for the upcoming school year. This would affect some 3,233 teachers and 40,345 learners, who were either forced to transfer to public schools or drop out of school.
Pangilinan said that while the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act has allocated P300 million for a one-time cash assistance to displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel in private and public schools, having a regular source of income and being able to continuously practice their sacred calling are more important.
According to the DepEd, there are 988,567 positions of which only 932,760 are filled, and 55,807 are unfilled.
Aside from these, DepEd said it has requested for additional 10,000 posts under the proposed 2021 budget.
“Sufficient human resources in the education system is as crucial these days, especially when we are embarking on blended learning,” Pangilinan said.
The senator also pushed for additional budget for the needs of teachers and non-teaching personnel so they could effectively carry out their task in both online and modular learning.
The August 2020 DepEd Learner Enrollment Survey indicated that more than 50% of learners prefer the use of printed modules in the conduct of distance education in the upcoming school year.
“This early, we have been hearing from DepEd officials about the lack of funds for printing of modules and the scenario of sharing of the printed copy among students,” Pangilinan said.
“This has to be addressed as this could pose health risks to both the teachers and students. Knowing, too, how devoted our teachers are to their vow, it is not far-fetched that they would initiate producing the extra copies of the modules out of their own pockets. Our teachers deserve better treatment from the government,” he stressed.