Detained Sen. Leila de Lima on Thursday welcomed the Department of Education’s (DepEd) plan to hire para-teachers, saying such an innovative move will help students cope with the challenges of distance learning.
“With this proposal, DepEd has effectively conceded that a top-down approach alone cannot be counted upon to implement the monumental task of blended learning modality for students owing to the differing contexts and needs of each learner under the program,” De Lima said in a statement.
De Lima said hiring para-teachers would be more practical and could help the agency boost its efforts to ensure continuity of education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A few of my colleagues at the Senate have urged the DepEd to fill its 55,000-plus vacancies–over 34,000 of which are teaching positions–in order to fully implement the blended learning modality for the coming school year. Let me make it clear that I also echo this sentiment. Thousands of teachers have been displaced owing to the closure of private schools which could no longer maintain operations amid the pandemic,” she said.
“It’s only right to help them find an opportunity to teach once again and find employment. These vacancies have to be filled as soon as possible. However, I must also express concern that simply hiring more teachers to implement the program may become problematic because of the inherent unpredictability of the situation.
“This is why I laud the DepEd’s innovative plan to hire para-teachers to assist distance learners with their lessons,” De Lima stressed.
By acknowledging that not all parents are capable of teaching their children, the DepEd saw the necessity of hiring para-teachers as an opportunity to introduce local, community-based solutions to the problem of distance learning.
She said DepEd should be commended for thinking outside the box and responding to the concerns of millions of parents and guardians who need help teaching their children.
Lawmakers, she added, should scrutinize the agency’s budget to optimize its allocations in preparation for this transition.
“Let us leave no stone unturned in order to guarantee that the funding for public education is altogether sufficient and properly allocated to be able to meet the needs of both our educators and learners amid the health crisis,” De Lima stressed.
“Let us ensure that DepEd can stay true to its word, that indeed, no child will be left behind,” she said.