By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro autonomous government, through its Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE), has just hired a total of 1,153 licensed elementary and secondary teachers for the two school districts in Maguindanao.
The MBHTE handed over the appointment documents and deployment orders to 569 appointees for Maguindanao I in a ceremony held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center here on Feb. 6. A separate ceremony for 584 appointees for Maguindanao II was held on Feb. 7 at the same venue.
MBHTE Minister Mohagher Iqbal ceremonially addressed the new teachers, pointing out that “our goal is to have a balanced, inclusive, relevant, and quality Bangsamoro Educational System for our children.”
“The vision is possible if we have quality teachers. Teachers are perhaps the most influential role models for young people,” Iqbal added, prodding the teachers to uphold the regional government’s advocacy for moral governance.
The new teachers were hired after passing stringent screening processes that include assessment and competency examination, oral interviews, and simulative teaching demonstrations, according to the Bangsamoro government’s Bureau of Public Information.
Tarhata Balabagan, 31, one of those bound for Maguindanao I, was thankful to the new autonomous government for hiring her after volunteering as teacher for months after passing the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) in 2017.
New teacher Aisah Calim, 22, expressed similar gratitude, saying she had also volunteered in a community school in her village at the behest of his father, a retired teacher. Calim passed the LET in December 2018.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod ‘Hadji Murad’ Ebrahim urged the new teachers to live up to public expectation in an “atmosphere of moral governance,” recalling that reforming the operations of the regional education agency has been a priority agendum under his administration.
It was recalled that some sectors had complained about alleged cases of “teachers’ positions for sale” during the advent of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In a message read for him by Assistant Executive Secretary Abdullah Cusain, Ebrahim stressed the need to institute “credible hiring processes to be able to come up with credible teachers on the ground to provide quality education to our students.”
“I hope that beyond the basic ABCs of teaching, you will also embed the importance of moral values in your classes. We must raise a Bangsamoro that is not just intellectually apt, but morally guided, especially with our shared values as a people,” said Ebrahim, who recently received an honorary doctorate from the Mindanao State University system.
He said the freshly hired teachers were “given the chance to reshape this region, re-engineer the educational system, and help mold new generations that will eventually succeed in the direction of the Bangsamoro.”
Within this month, the MBHTE will be conducting similar selection processes for teacher applicants in the divisions of Basilan and Tawi-Tawi. The qualifying processes for applicants the divisions in Sulu and Lanao del Sur will follow, it was learned.