Marikina LGU plans to hire ‘para-teachers’ to boost education workforce
MANILA, Philippines — The local government of Marikina is looking at hiring individuals like ministers and educators from religious groups to become “para-teachers,” in an initiative to boost the city’s education workforce.
According to Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro on Wednesday, the para-teachers would assist students amid the ongoing distance and blended learning methods due to the COVID-19 transmissions.
Marikina’s local government unit added that a religious group, the Marikina Valley Ministerial Fellowship (Marval) — a group of born-again pastors with over 100 members based in the city — has already offered help.
“The para-teachers will guide parents and students and provide assistance to teachers. They will also help monitor and track the progress of students in their community,” Teodoro said in a statement.
“We are very grateful to Marval for volunteering to help the city government in addressing challenges in the new normal setup of education in the country,” he added.
To ensure the quality of education remains the same, the volunteers and the para-teachers would be trained by the Department of Education (DepEd) office in Marikina in order to have a better understanding of the program and the learning materials.
“I already told them to coordinate with each other for faster implementation of the program,” he noted.
To minimize the risk of coronavirus transmissions, DepEd has opted to use a distance learning mode for the school year 2020 to 2021, which means that students have to make use of online classes to study. Those who have no adequate gadgets or have unstable internet connections were given the option to use a blended learning scheme.
Under blended learning, parents of students would have to get learning modules at least once a week from the respective schools. The modules would then be studied by students remotely, although some online intervention is still needed.
Teodoro also underscored that there are instances wherein the educational attainment of the parents does not correspond to the level of materials being given to students — hence causing more confusion and possibly making it difficult for students to learn.
But with the Marikina’s program, they believe that they could alleviate some of the stresses and problems using the help of para-teachers.
According to Pastor Frances Talattad of The Rhema Word of God Church, this is also the reason why they offered their support to the city government.
“Among the challenges faced by parents under the new normal in the education system of the country amid the pandemic is how to teach the learning modules provided by the DepEd to their children. Most of them cannot teach the lessons of their children due to their educational attainment,” Talattad said.
“Ang concerns namin ,basically, is ang education. Nahihirapan ang mga nanay sa pagtuturo ng module sa kanilang mga anak. Dahil hindi alam ng parents kung paano ituturo, hindi rin nila maasikaso, walang magtuturo sa mga anak,” she added.
Even after the first week of classes, DepEd has faced a barrage of complaints from students and parents who believe that the department was not prepared enough for the school year.
A lot of groups have also advocated for an academic freeze, or the temporary suspension of the school year but that was shunned by Education Secretary Leonor Briones.
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