Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) senatorial candidate Win Gatchalian lauded the Supreme Court’s move to dismiss several petitions against the implementation of the K to 12 law as this will pave the way for the smooth implementation of the program starting this school year.
“We praise the Supreme Court’s decision that will allow the full implementation of the K to 12 program, which in turn will make our students globally competitive,” said Gatchalian, a majority member of the House committees on basic education and culture and on higher and technical education.
Gatchalian, however, expressed alarm over reports that the Department of Education (DepEd) is willing to rehire displaced college teachers as basic education teachers provided they accept pay cuts since high school teachers receive lower salaries compared to their college counterparts.
“Despite plans by the DepEd to rehire college teachers as basic education teachers, there are concerns that those rehired will suffer massive cuts in their salaries,” said Gatchalian, who is running for senator under the Partido Galing at Puso (PGP) of presidential frontrunner Grace Poe and leading vice presidential bet Chiz Escudero.
Gatchalian maintained that it is only just that teachers from higher education who will teach senior high school students be given compensation that would be comparable to what they previously earn. “For one, it was never their choice to be displaced,” he said.
The DepEd is hiring 30,000 new teachers this year, when college enrolment is seen to decline to nearly zero. In an attempt to cushion the blow to affected personnel, the DepEd said faculty of technical vocational institutions (TVIs) and higher education institutions (HEIs) will be given priority in hiring for the transition period from September 2013 until SY 2021-2022.
DepEd offers salaries ranging from P19,940 (Salary Grade 12) to P39,493 (Salary Grade 21) to those who are interested in full-time and part-time teaching positions for Grades 11 and 12 for SY 2016-2017.
“Making matters worse is that those displaced will have to undergo evaluation by the DepEd to have their rank and salary grade determined. Those who do not have a teaching license will also have to shoulder the additional cost of applying for one or else they will not be offered tenure,” Gatchalian pointed out.
According to the DepEd’s general guidelines, the teaching rank, salary grade and status of appointment will depend on the applicant’s qualifications. Also, only applicants with PRC teaching license and/or appropriate certification shall be given permanent full-time status.
“The DepEd has two months to resolve issues on salaries and tenure. It should be considerate to the thousands of teaching and non-teaching staff who will be displaced. More than just numbers, these personnel have families who will be affected as well. Nasaan ang puso ng gobyerno?” said Gatchalian.
Gatchalian earlier warned that failure to provide quality employment to affected private higher education teaching staff might result to an exodus of university instructors who are currently in demand in many countries in Asia.
The Valenzuela City congressman pointed out that with thousands of college instructors going abroad, the problem of brain drain will be further aggravated.
“Losing talented educators who can best contribute to our nation by nurturing the minds and skills of future generations is a big problem. The increased migration of teachers, especially those with incomparable expertise in their respective fields and a significant experience in teaching, presents an irreparable loss to the education sector,” concluded Gatchalian. (Monica Cantilero)