Hire 147,000 more teachers, not just 10,000, ACT tells DepEd

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 22: Filipino students and a teacher are seen in the classroom after face-to-face education starts in Public schools in Manila, Philippines on August 22, 2022. An alliance says the Department of Education's (DepEd) plan to hire additional 10,000 teachers is not enough to effectively address the shortage of manpower in public education. (Photo by Dante Diosina JR/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 22: Filipino students and a teacher are seen in the classroom after face-to-face education starts in Public schools in Manila, Philippines on August 22, 2022. An alliance says the Department of Education's (DepEd) plan to hire additional 10,000 teachers is not enough to effectively address the shortage of manpower in public education. (Photo by Dante Diosina JR/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Teachers’ group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said that hiring additional 10,000 teachers next year will do nothing to ease the teacher shortage in the country, as it wouldn’t be enough to cover the average yearly increase in enrollment in public schools.

Department of Education (DepEd) Michael Poa announced in the first week of September that the education department was looking into hiring 10,000 teachers.

ACT said that from school year (SY) 2016-2017 to 2021-2022, there is an average of 2.5% increase in public school enrollment or a total of 545,881. The group said that, with the proposed hiring of 10,000 teachers, the average class size is still at 55 students per classroom, far from the ideal 35 students per classroom.

“The figures could be worse as yearly, many teachers exit the service to retire or seek better-paying jobs. Now, how can 10,000 new teaching position be of any help in alleviating the teacher shortage?” Dana Beltran, ACT’s Deputy Secretary-General, said.

“There is nothing new in creating 10,000 new teaching positions as it has been the baseline yearly allocation of the national government for several years already. This is in no way a plan to reduce the current class size or ease teachers’ workload to enable education recovery or improve the quality of education,” Beltran added.

This is why, instead of 10,000, ACT said that DepEd should hire 147,000 new teachers to reduce the current workload of teachers to humane levels, and to achieve the ideal classroom size.

“Its cost of P54 billion is a worthy investment for our youth’s and nation’s future. It is perfectly doable only if the national government would straighten up its priorities and rid the 2023 proposed budget of hefty allocations to questionable agency-hosted pork barrel funds, dubious confidential and intelligence funds, and onerous debt payments,” Beltran said.

The group is also calling for the doubling of the budget for DepEd, to “salvage our education system from the crisis.”

“We need to double this year’s education budget to really solve the perennial problems in education that drowns us in the quagmire that we are in,” said Beltran.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.

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