More than a month after the start of the academic year, the Department of Education (DepEd) has yet to fill up all the 61,510 new teacher positions created in its P293.32 billion budget for the year.
Of the available positions, DepEd has hired only 55,848 teachers as of July 11 for the country’s more than 46,000 public schools.
But DepEd said it has hastened the recruitment and hiring process which used to take about eight months.
“By working closely with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), DepEd was able to reduce the hiring process to five months,” DepEd communications director Patrick Salamat said.
He said the CSC and the PRC have minimized the delays in verifying and certifying the license of the hired teachers.
Since Congress approved the 2013 national budget in November last year and was signed into law by the President the following month, he said DepEd was able to start the recruitment during the first quarter of 2013.
Some divisions and regional offices were even able to fill up more than half of their allotted new teaching positions within three months.
Of the 61,510 new positions, 10,000 are for kindergarten, 17,776 for elementary and 33,734 for high schools.
When classes resumed last June 3, DepEd reported that the shortage of teachers in public schools as of 2010 stood at 145,000.
This represented only the backlog in the number of teachers that should have been hired in the past several years.
As of February, 36,923 teachers have been hired on top of the 61,510 new teachers that were supposed to start teaching last month.
According to DepEd officials, they need to hire more than 10,000 new teachers each year to meet the ever increasing enrollment in public schools where about 2 million new students are added annually.
DepEd officials confirmed that many teachers from private schools have applied in public schools due to the reverse in compensation.
The starting monthly salary in public schools is about P19,000 compared to P8,000 to P14,000 in private schools.
Until the K to 12 law was passed, only education graduates who have passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) may teach in elementary and high school under Republic Act No. 7836.
The new law allows DepEd and private high schools to hire professional practitioners, noneducation graduates and even college faculty members who do not necessarily have to pass the LET to teach in high school.