Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday encouraged the Department of Education (DepEd) to explore the possibility of partnering with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to tap displaced private school teachers as online tutors.
Cayetano aired this proposal as DepEd started finalizing the guidelines for the deployment of para-teachers that will assist public school students whose parents are unable to physically guide them in their studies.
The House leader said DepEd and DOLE may collaborate in making the tutoring program supportive of the latter’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.
“We can hire private school teachers who lost their jobs due to the community quarantine. They can tutor our students especially since we cannot hold face-to-face classes and most of our students are studying from home,” Cayetano said in a statement.
“If there is anything the pandemic has taught us, it is to innovate and make use of all available resources. Many teachers in private schools have lost their jobs, but they can be productive now as para-teachers and tutors who can fill the gap that teachers cannot fill under the new normal,” he added.
According to DepEd, blended learning combines virtual and non-virtual methods of learning.
The latter requires delivery of printed materials to the homes of learners who do not have access to the internet.
DepEd will also use radio and television to broadcast instruction, materials, and lessons in areas nationwide where internet access is still unavailable.
During the budget hearing for DepEd's proposed 2021 allocation, DepEd Undersecretary for Planning, Human Resource and Organizational Development, and Field Operations Jesus Lorenzo Mateo said the para-teachers will play a very important role in the blended and distant learning system the department is implementing while the COVID-19 pandemic is still going on.
“There is a draft policy for para-teachers. One of the things we need to consider is the need of schools. It will be determined by the contextualization of the divisions,” Mateo told lawmakers.
Under the DepED plan, para-teachers will be hired to facilitate the lessons of students outside the classroom. They will also be tapped to provide administrative support to the department.
According to Mateo, the para-teachers are also expected to help learners further understand lessons that will be delivered through traditional media such as radio and television, as well as the internet.