Senator Francis Pangilinan on Sunday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to hire more teachers to ensure that positions funded under the current budget and the upcoming 2021 national budget are filled.
Pangilinan made the call in light of DepEd’s report that 748 out of 14,435 private schools nationwide would not be operating for the upcoming school year due to the economic downturn and COVID-19 pandemic.
The senator said this development translates to 3,233 teachers and 40,345 learners who are either forced to transfer to public schools or drop out of school.
“The best way to honor our teachers and non-teaching school personnel is to guarantee that they have jobs and that their welfare is protected,” Pangilinan said.
The senator reminded that there is a P300-million allocation under the Bayanihan To Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 that the DepEd can tap for one-time cash assistance to displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel in private and public schools.
He said it is more important that teachers have a regular source of income and are able to continuously practice their profession.
DepEd officials earlier told lawmakers during the budget hearing there are 988,567 positions of which only 932,760 are filled. The agency has requested for additional 10,000 posts under the proposed 2021 budget.
“Sufficient human resources in the education system is as crucial these days, especially when we are embarking on blended learning,” Pangilinan said.
At the same time, Pangilinan said DepEd should also push for an additional budget for the procurement of learning modules that all teachers and non-teaching personnel would need so they could effectively carry out their task in both online and modular learning.
“This early, we have been hearing from DepEd officials about the lack of funds for printing of modules and the scenario of sharing of the printed copy among students. This has to be addressed as this could pose health risks to both the teachers and students,” Pangilinan said.
“Knowing, too, how devoted our teachers are to their vow, it is not far-fetched that they would initiate producing the extra copies of the modules out of their own pockets. Our teachers deserve better treatment from the government,” he stressed.