DepEd needs teachers, lots of them

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

Wanted: a “huge army” of Science and Math teachers.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the Department of Education (DepEd) needs to fill more than 30,000 teaching positions, especially in the fields of Science and Math, in its implementation of the K-12 education reform program.

At a recent House appropriations committee hearing on the DepEd’s proposed P567.56-billion budget for 2017, Briones said the department was facing a challenge with hiring teachers in the two fields.

“We need a huge army of teachers; we’ll recruit more,” she said, noting that the demand for K-12 educators was still high despite the employment of 195,302 public school teachers between 2010 and 2016.

Briones also told the committee the DepEd created 36,461 teaching positions for the senior high school (SHS) program alone, which was rolled out in June.

So far, the DepEd has hired 3,950 teachers displaced from higher education institutions by the K-12 program, of whom 928 availed themselves of the department’s “green lane” for speedy employment, she said.

The figures showed the DepEd was able to avert a massive displacement of teachers following the full implementation of the K-12 basic education program, Briones said.

“We lack teachers and we are not displacing teachers,” she said, allaying fears of joblessness among college professors.

In the proposed budget, the DepEd is allotting P15.5 billion to hire 53,831 teachers next year and about P4.5 billion to purchase more than 8,300 Science and Math equipment packages.

Briones said the DepEd was offering above entry-level salary grades to graduates of Science and Technology courses under the junior level science scholarships of the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute.

As of June 21, 502 people had qualified for the scholarship, with 472 scholars availing themselves of the grant.

Under Republic Act No. 10612, or the Fast-Tracked S&T Scholarship Act of 2013, the DepEd is mandated to assure qualified graduates of the scholarship job placements as Special Science Teacher with salary grade level 13.

Scholar graduates hired by the DepEd will also undergo a teacher training program that will enable them to qualify to take the Licensure Examination of Teachers (LET).