MANILA, Philippines?Amid fears of the contractualization of teachers, the Department of Education (DepEd) has said it would need some P5.7 billion in additional funds to afford to pay new kindergarten teachers the regular rates.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the department was counting on the passage of a bill that would institutionalize public kindergarten as part of the basic education system in order to muster the money needed to hire some 27,000 new teachers for the expanded pre-school program.
Teachers' groups had expressed concern over the planned contractualization of at least 10,000 new kindergarten teachers this year as the DepEd hopes to raise preschool attendance and get some 2.4 million new students in school.
This is part of efforts to jump-start the K+12 (kindergarten plus 12 years) program and attain 100-percent enrolment in free basic education under the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.
?We understand the concern of those who will be hired under contract of service,? Luistro said.
?The bill on universal kindergarten will allow the DepEd to allocate funds for permanent positions, that is why we are working closely with our legislators to ensure teachers will get the compensation they deserve,? he added.
The DepEd said the law, and funds to be allocated with it, would provide for the employment of some 27,000 teachers with a monthly salary of P17,999. Contractual teachers currently receive P3,000 a month for daily four-hour shifts, but the DepEd said it was exploring ways to increase their benefits.