Group pushes for hiring of 26K para-teachers to aid students at home

Published October 6, 2021, 8:42 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

To assist schools and monitor the progress of learners in households struggling with remote learning, a group is proposing the hiring of 26,000 para-teachers.

(Photo from Unsplash)

Para-teachers, also called Learning Support Aides (LSAs) by the Department of Education (DepEd), refer to individuals “who qualify in assisting teachers to provide learning opportunities using various learning delivery modalities in promoting achievement and progression of learner” especially amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Aral Pilipinas, a network of education practitioners, parents, students, and development workers who advocate for the continuity of education in times of crisis, is proposing a 10-month-long employment of 26,000 para-teachers nationwide.

The group said that this would entail an additional P3.1 billion and P130 million for salaries and allowances of LSAs, respectively.

Thus, Aral Pilipinas is pushing for additional budget to fund the hiring of more para-teachers.

In a paper submitted to lawmakers for the 2022 national budget deliberations, Aral Pilipinas pointed out the need to hire hire 26,000 para-teachers for a 10-month period to achieve a 1:35 teacher-student ratio in concerned localities.

“We recommend a salary rate of almost P12,000 monthly, equivalent to half the salary of an entry-level teacher with salary grade 11,” the group said.

Aral Pilipinas is also pushing for the provision of P500 transportation and load allowance for each recruited para-teacher per month for 10 months.

“This minimal budget allocation would allow for more convenient travel options and better communication of para-teachers with teachers or parents despite the COVID-19 restrictions,” the group explained.

Aral Pilipinas also noted that when hiring para-teachers, recruiting education graduates without licenses and retrenched teachers should be prioritized.

“This guarantees that the quality of education is maintained because of their good grasp of the curriculum, the learning process, and various remote learning resources,” the group said.

“The call to recruit para-teachers will cost a measly fraction of the national budget and it shall yield an invaluable investment to our nation’s future,” Aral Pilipinas lead convenor Regina Sibal said.

The proposal, the group added, would also benefit at least one third of the enrolled 28 million Filipino learners from kindergarten to Grade 3 and learners with special needs who shall receive priority assignments for LSAs.