By Jess Diaz | The Philippine Star,October 29, 2016
The Department of Education (DepEd) is still hiring many of the 55,349 public school teachers for whom it has funds in the 2017 national budget.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones has told congressmen that the recruitment of teachers Congress had authorized the DepEd to hire this year “is still ongoing.”
She said aside from the 55,349 teachers that her agency has to hire this year, there is a hiring backlog for teaching positions funded under the 2015 budget.
A total of 39,002 posts were authorized last year, she said.
Briones pointed out that during the Aquino administration, 230,104 teaching positions were created: 11,675 in 2010, 13,775 in 2011, 15,663 in 2012, 61,510 in 2013, and 33,130 in 2014.
The teacher-to-students ratio has considerably improved from 1 to 36 in 2009 to 1 to 33 in 2015 in the elementary level, and from 1 to 38 to 1 to 25 in secondary schools over the same period, she stressed.
As for classrooms, the education secretary said 180,437 units were built or funded during the previous administration: 3,291 in 2010, 12,513 in 2011, 16,323 in 2012, 34,686 in 2013, 33,608 in 2014, 41,728 in 2015, and 38,288 this year.
The additional rooms have improved the classroom-to-students ratio from 1 to 39 in 2009 to 1 to 34 in 2014 in elementary schools, and from 1 to 54 to 1 to 48 in the secondary level over the same period, she said.
Briones credited former president Benigno Aquino III, her predecessor Armin Luistro and Congress for preparing the public school system to shift to the K-to-12 program.
She said the previous administration and lawmakers provided the necessary funds for the program requirements.
That is why starting in 2013, there was a surge in the number of classrooms and teacher-positions funded in the national budget, she said.
She also said private school teachers are “migrating” to public schools because of “improved compensation.”
The lowest monthly basic pay in the public school system is P19,077. Additionally, teachers receive allowances, a mid-year bonus equivalent to one-month salary and 13th-month pay.
A principal receives more than P50,000 a month.
Public school personnel are covered by the planned four-year government-wide salary adjustment program, which started this year.
However, with full adjustment, the lowest-paid teacher would have received an increase of P2,000, or P500 a year.
In contrast, the President’s salary would have jumped from P120,000 to nearly P400,000, while a Cabinet member’s pay would have increased from P97,000 to almost P300,000.
P45-M research fund
In a related development, the DepEd has allotted a total of P45 million to finance basic education research at the regional level.
Briones issued a memorandum approving the release of P2 million to each of the 17 regions in the country, with an additional P9 million as standby additional allocation for regions that will utilize at least 80 percent of the initial funding.
The funding was in line with the department’s efforts to promote the culture of research, particularly in topics such as improving governance, access, and quality of education in the country.
Based on the guidelines for the utilization of funds, research based on regional, division or district level may receive funding of as much as P150,000.
The area of research should focus on program development, as well as on those that would improve the contextualization and implementation of the policy in the region, division or district. – With Janvic Mateo
SOURCE: THE PHILIPPINE STAR