The Department of Education acknowledges the lack of school buildings and teachers throughout the country. Last year, Secretary Armin Luistro revealed that the department was planning to hire at least 61,000 more teachers who will be filling the shortage of teachers and more than 60,000 classrooms to build.
Based on the proposed 2013 budget of the government, PhP292.7 billion will be allocated for the DepEd which is enough for the department’s spending including the hiring of 61,000 new teachers and building classrooms.
With regards to hiring of new teachers, this May 2013, our division, the Southern Leyte Division, hires 175 new teachers to fill the vacant items throughout the division in which most of these new hired teachers will handle tasks in the secondary level and special education program.
But, the number of vacant items here is not just 175 (I think), considering that every district in our division needs kinder teachers to handle Kindergarten classes in different schools. So, by the end of the year, I think, our division will be hiring more to fill the gap between the number of regular teachers and the number of the needed teachers.
Multi-grade Classes and No Volunteer Kindergarten Teachers
Our district here in our division of DepEd has implemented already the “No-Volunteer Kindergarten Teachers” policy.
Just recently, more than 25 volunteers were called for a meeting here in our district, only to tell them that the kindergarten classes that supposedly handled by them will now be handled by Grade 1 teachers. In other words, Grade 1 teachers will be handling multi-grade classes (Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes).
Speculations revealed that this change is due to the memo by the DepEd authority regarding the redistribution of teachers in order to optimize the ratio of teachers to pupils of which the DepEd’s standard is 1:45.
However, during the Brigada Eskwela launching in our Division, Dr. Violeta Alocilja, our Division Superintendent, revealed that the Division of Southern Leyte has the average ratio of 1:35, which is actually below the standard ratio of the division which is 1:50. Therefore, classes in our division are not yet overcrowded.
So, in my analysis, abolishing the volunteer teachers is not just about redistribution of teachers, but it is more related to the DepEd’s optimization of its spending.
If our division will hire volunteer kindergarten teachers, it will be spending an average of 3,000 per month in every volunteer teacher. So, to save a little, the best way is to implement the multi-grade class system and the redistribution of teachers to cope the standard ratio of teachers to the pupils.
Transfer of Excess Teachers
After publishing this blogpost, an authority of a certain district in our division explained to me that the implementation of multi-grade class by the district’s supervisors to his or her district is not just about optimizing the spending of the funds but it’s about the existence of the so-called “Excess Teachers.”
DepEd Order Number 22, Series of 2013 dated April 17, 2013 revealed that the Basic Education Information System (BEIS) Teacher Deployment Analysis shows the imbalance in the deployment of the public school teachers.
In other words, there are schools of which their classes are overcrowded and there are other schools of which their classes are below 35:1 (elementary level) ratio and 27:1 (secondary level) ratio of pupils to teachers.
So, to balance the deployment of teachers, the DepEd ordered that excess teachers or those should be transferred must be transferred from a station to the other with or without the consent of the affected teacher.
Who are those considered excess teacher? Or, Who are those teachers should be transferred?
The mentioned DO have these guidelines:
- The teacher who are declared by the principal or school head as excess and his or her expertise is needed in another school or district or division;
- Teachers who were last to be hired;
- Non-residents of the barangay or municipality where the school is located;
- Residents of the barangay or municipality of the proposed recipient school; or
- Secondary school teachers teaching subjects other than their areas of specialization.
But, what if the excess teacher doesn’t want to transfer? The said DO said, “should teachers (identified as excess) desire not to transfer, they shall be given additional assignments such as remedial and summer classes, work related to Alternative Delivery Modes, tasks concerning Alternative Learning Systems and other assignments that their respective School head may deem proper.”
In other words, the implementation of the multi-grade class (Kinder and Grade 1) is just a way to avoid the existence of the “Excess Teacher,” particularly the Grade 1 teacher who is handling below 35 number of pupils.
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