By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
As it continues to encourage and hire more qualified applicants to fill the vacancies, the Department of Education expressed optimism that the unfilled teaching and teaching-related positions will be “drastically reduced” within this year.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in a recent press briefing, clarified reports regarding the unfilled positions in DepEd. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), on June 14, reported that there are 125,065 unfilled positions in the department. As of July 30, she noted that this number has already decreased to 119,412.
“Our numbers is as of July [so] we still have how many weeks to be able to fill these up,” Briones said. She noted that DepEd was able to get an exemption from the Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) procedure pertaining to the CSC’s Omnibus Rules on Appointment and Other Human Resource Actions (ORAOHRA) requiring the publication and posting of vacant positions in three conspicuous places for at least 10 calendar days for national agencies, and prohibiting the publication of vacant positions earlier than 60 days before the anticipated vacancy in cases of retirement, resignation, or transfer.
“We are fortunate that the CSC exempted us,” Briones said. “I am very sure that this very famous 119,412 unfilled positions will be drastically reduced this year,” she added.
DepEd Undersecretary for Planning Service and Field Operations Jesus Mateo further clarified that the department is now allowed to publish vacancies earlier.
Before, Mateo said that whenever there is a vacancy, the DepEd cannot just fill it up to the school level until such vacancy has been published. “Just recently, in June of this year, we were able to secure an exemption from CSC that we can publish 60 days prior to vacancy that will allow us to fill up and advertise those positions,” he said. This process of announcing vacancy and hiring, he explained “has bearing on the chain of promotion” in various levels.
Mateo also clarified that the 119,412 total unfilled positions already include the 75,242 items created in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, wherein 33,094 (which include Teacher I, Teacher II, and Master Teacher items) have been filled as of July 30; the 19,049 items created between FY 2010 and FY 2017; and the 4,403 natural vacancies (due to retirement, resignation, transfers and other forms of separation).
Non-teaching and teaching-related items include 19,996 items for schools and Schools Division Offices (5,596 school heads, 5,005 finance service personnel for schools, 4,172 guidance counselors, 2,664 administrative support staff, 314 school health and nutrition personnel, 153 administrative personnel for SHS, and 2,0912 other technical positions); 354 items for Regional Offices; and 368 items for the Central Office.
Mateo stressed that to help ensure the hiring of qualified and competent applicants, “improved qualification standards are set.” He noted that aspiring principals are required to pass the Principals’ Test; applicants for Administrative Assistant II and III (bookkeeper and senior bookkeeper) are now required to have bachelor’s degree in Business Administration major in Accounting from the previous qualification standard of completing two years in college; and would-be guidance counselors need to obtain master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling on top of their license – which DepEd seeks to compensate adequately by requesting additional funds from DBM to increase the salary of guidance counselors from P21,000 to P31,000 and make the profession more attractive to students who take up guidance counseling or psychology.
Aside from teachers, Mateo said that DepEd needs a lot of administrative staff like accountants who will help the department and the schools to handle higher amounts of the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) – as well as other non-teaching positions.
“This is still a good announcement to the public that there are these vacancies as long as they qualify,” Mateo said. Interested applicants may search the Civil Service Commission or DepEd website wherein the qualifications for positions are posted.