The Department of Education (DepEd) said teachers from private schools who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be among priorities when it starts hiring para-teachers or tutors for blending/distance learning.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in a virtual press briefing on Aug. 24, said the DepEd is currently working on the guidelines for this.
She said, “We want to pursue this. I want this idea because realistically, we know there are mothers who are not ready [to teach their children] – not because they can’t but because they need to work and they have many concerns.”
Briones noted the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) already “gave an assurance” on this initiative.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary for Planning and Field Operations Jesus Mateo explained “In terms of prioritization, what we’re looking for are those who reside in the same area [as the student]. This is to ensure that possible transmission will be reduced because if they live within the area, travelling will not be required.”
DepEd, Mateo said, is still finalizing the guidelines to hire para-teachers or tutors. “We’re just refining, finalizing the guidelines based on the comments of ExeCom members and finally, from the CSC Civil Service Commission (CSC),” he said.
Mateo said the major source of funding for this initiative is the Special Education Fund (SEF) lodged under the local government units (LGUs), as sourced from real property taxes collected by local government, regulated by the CSC, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and DepEd.
Another possible source of funding, Mateo explained, is the school Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) which is allocated for public elementary and secondary schools for activities and necessities that support learning programs.
DepEd’s initiative was welcomed by many in light of a photo uploaded August 22 on Facebook by Karlo Ternora of 65-year-old Eloisa Gicar, an owner of a small private school in Caloocan City that had to close down due to the impact of COVID-19.
The photo showed the former teacher now resorting to selling items on a street.
According to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Private Schools, there are 407, 757 teachers and staff who were affected during the first month of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). With the low enrollment percentage of private schools this upcoming school year, the group is anticipating massive layoffs of academic personnel.