Senator Win Gatchalian raised concerns over the employment status of child development workers (CDWs) in the Philippines, revealing that only 11% or 8,739 of the 78,893 CDWs nationwide hold permanent positions, according to data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“In the quest to professionalize and improve the early childhood care and development or ECCD system, we also need to incentivize our workers and teachers by giving them tenure,” stated Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
During a recent Senate hearing on proposed measures to strengthen early childhood care and development (ECCD) in the country, Gatchalian cited DSWD data which indicated that majority of the country’s CDWs are under contractual employment at 30% (23,835), followed by 22% (17,749) in casual positions, and 20% (15,890) employed under a memorandum of agreement. The DSWD data further showed that 9% (7,389) are volunteers and 7% (5,561) are job orders.
Under the Basic Education and Early Childhood Education Alignment Act (Senate Bill No. 2029), which seeks to amend the Early Years Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10410), Gatchalian proposed mandating greater responsibilities on local government units (LGUs) on the implementation of ECCD programs. These include the creation of plantilla positions for Child Development Teachers (CDTs) and CDWs, and the promotion and encouragement of their professional development.
“Since we are devolving this responsibility to our local government units and they will be the ones absorbing the tenure of child development workers, we will grant them the flexibility to choose whom they wish to hire for plantilla positions,” the senator added.
The Basic Education and Early Childhood Education Alignment Act also proposes that LGUs shall provide the facilities and resources for the implementation of ECCD programs. It further aims to achieve universal coverage for the national ECCD System by identifying and supporting all young children and their parents or parent-substitutes within their respective jurisdictions.
Gatchalian’s proposed measure seeks to ensure alignment between the K to 12 basic education curriculum and the ECCD curriculum, which will be a mandate of the ECCD Council.