Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to accelerate its hiring process and fill the remaining vacant teaching positions.
Gatchalian noted that the DepEd is seeking an additional P2.58-billion in 2022 to hire 10,000 teachers, yet more than 30,000 teaching positions are yet to be filled as of September of this year.
“The positions left unfilled could equate to P13-billion in funds that are not being disbursed. This had been a recurring issue,” Gatchalian said in a recent hearing on the proposed budget of the DepEd and its attached agencies.
“I remember some senators, including myself, flagged this also last year and the year before that. We have to, once for all, find ways to reduce the six-month turn-around time somehow,” said the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture chief.
At least 71 percent of the agency’s 46,901 total vacant positions refer to unfilled teaching positions, based on the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department’s (CPBRD) agency notes for DepEd’s 2022 budget.
This is equivalent to 33,260 unfilled teaching positions and 16,460 or almost half of which are for Teacher I positions.
During the hearing, DepEd officials explained that the hiring process usually involves six months and involves the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
But due to the COVID-19 restrictions and the imposition of an alternative work arrangement, the agency also had to work on the hiring process with a limited number of staff.
To help reduce barriers in filling Teacher I positions, Undersecretary Wilfredo Cabral told the panel the agency is considering accepting applicants who have no prior experience, similar to other entry-level positions.