Instead of hiring additional 10,000 teachers next year, Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the Department of Education (DepEd) to instead prioritize filling its remaining vacant positions and target displaced private school teachers.
In a Senate panel hearing on the proposed 2021 budget of DepEd and its attached agencies, DepEd Undersecretary Jesus Mateo reported that 34,000 of more than 55,000 unfilled positions are teaching positions, majority of which are Teachers I, II, and III.
For Gatchalian, DepEd should instead speed up its hiring to fill the remaining 34,000 unfilled positions. DepEd reported earlier this month that the suspension of operations of 865 private schools this year affects more than 4,000 teachers.
DepEd’s proposed 2021 budget allocates P1.2 billion for the hiring of 10,000 teachers.
“I think it’s better to fill it (34,000 teaching positions) up first before we hire again so that we can use the savings for other purposes,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
The Special Education (SPED) program, for instance, could utilize the fund, according to Gatchalian. He took note that the P300 million-fund allocated for SPED in 2020 was no longer included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2021. This amount, however, was realigned to fund the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act (Republic Act 11469). The SPED program supports approximately 439,000 learners.
“I would like to urge the Department to hasten the hiring of those displaced teachers, tutal may 34,000 teaching positions available. It will help them continue their work and bring home something to their families,” Gatchalian added.
Gatchalian added that hiring 10,000 additional teachers on top of the 34,000 vacant teaching positions will only increase the unutilized portions of the DepEd budget.
DepEd assured the Senate panel, however, that its hiring process is continuously on-going.