The Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday, Nov. 3, announced that there are 1,421 displaced teachers from private schools who were already hired as Learning Support Aides (LSAs) for this school year.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, during the “Laging Handa” Public Briefing, explained that the agency has already started hiring para-teachers or LSAs to support teachers, students, and parents under the distance learning set-up.
“We have started taking in or employing para-teachers even if they are not fully qualified according to our standards because we really need additional teachers at this time,” Briones said.
Briones said that DepEd has requested the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to allow the agency to hire LSAs. “The [Civil Service Commission] will review their qualifications,” she added.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary for Planning and Bureau of Human Resource and Organizational Development Jesus Mateo explained there are currently over 3,200 LSAs hired in five regions.
“Of this number, around 2,000 are paid for by DepEd and the others are LGU-paid,” Mateo explained. He added that 1,421 private school teachers, who were displaced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were hired by the agency.
“Ang kinukuha natin ay tao na nasa community para ma-prevent natin ang transmission ng COVID (We hired those who are already in the community to prevent COVID-19 transmissions),” he added.
LSAs refer to individuals “who qualify in assisting teachers to provide learning opportunities using various learning delivery modalities in promoting achievement and progression of learners.” DepEd is hiring LSAs to assist teachers and parents in the delivery of basic education services in the distance learning set-up this school year.
“Ang hiring po ng LSAs ay ayon po sa pangangailangan ng paaralan natin,” (The hiring of LSAs is based on the needs of the schools),” Mateo explained.
He added that LSAs would cater to the needs of learners without adults at home who will help in their studies, students who cannot do independent learning, learners with special needs, and for students whose parents are working.
Based on the guidelines released by DepEd, those School Division Offices (SDOs) with the need to hire LSAs are instructed to offer the position to existing teacher applicants for SY 2020-2021 who were not given permanent or provisional appointments due to lack of available teaching posts.
Other qualified individuals who may apply as LSAs include LET passers in the locality; private school teachers, especially those who were displaced and have lost their livelihood due to the pandemic; and provisional teachers whose contracts were not renewed.
DepEd, meanwhile, clarified that LSAs will “not replace nor duplicate the functions of teachers,” who will still be the main facilitators of learning instruction in public schools.