THE Department of Education (DepEd) will hire more Math and Science teachers for the next school year to address a shortage of teachers in public schools.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said many teaching items for Math and Science still need to be filled up for the agency’s K-to-12 [Kindergarten to Grade 12] program despite the employment of 195,302 teachers between 2010 and 2016.
“We have a challenge in hiring Math and Science teachers. . . [We need] a huge army of teachers, we’ll recruit more,” Briones recently told members of the House Committee on Appropriations during the agency’s presentation of its proposed budget for 2017.
Of the P567.56-billion proposed budget for 2017, P15.5 billion will be allotted to hiring 53,831 teachers, according to the Education secretary.
The DepEd chief noted that her agency was able to deter an anticipated massive displacement of teachers that could have resulted from full implementation of the K-to-12 basic education.
With the creation of 36,461 teaching items for the Senior High School (SHS) program, the Education department already hired 3,950 displaced college teachers, 928 of whom have availed themselves of the agency’s “Green Lane” for speedy employment.
“We lack teachers. We are not displacing teachers,” Briones said.
The DepEd offers above entry-level salary grades to graduates of Science and Technology courses under the Junior Level Science Scholarships of the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute.
As of June 21, 2016, 502 had qualified for the scholarships, with 472 scholars availing themselves of the grant.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10612, Series of 2014, mandates the department to ensure qualified graduates under the scholarships with job placement as Special Science Teacher with salary grade level 13.
The DepEd-hired scholar-graduates will also receive a teacher training program that will enable them to qualify to take the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).
Graduates of Science, Math or Engineering courses without LET certification, graduates of technical-vocational courses with necessary Tesda certifications and practitioners with expertise in specialized learning areas offered by the K-to-12 program are also encouraged to apply as part-time SHS teachers.
Aside from hiring more teachers, the DepEd has also allotted P65.4 billion for construction of 47,492 classrooms (including 10,000 classrooms for replacement); P43.9 billion for building of 17,562 laboratories; P7.3 billion for provision of 7,260 technical vocational tools and equipment packages; P6.9 billion for provision of 30,697 ICT packages (with maintenance and other operating expenses); P4.5 billion for purchase of 8,833 Science and Math equipment packages; P4 billion for hiring 13,266 non-teaching items; P3 billion for 55.8 million learning materials; and P2.5 billion for 51,492 sets of school seats (including 19,000 sets of seats as counterpart to those of local government units) as part of the additional basic resources to support the needs of the K-to-12 curriculum.
NEIL A. ALCOBER