Solon doubts “zero backlog” in teachers, classrooms

Reposted from
ACT TEACHERS Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio (09209220817)
Despite proud announcements from the Aquino administration of a “zero backlog” in teachers and classrooms, ACT TEACHERS Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio lamented that public school children will still be facing severe shortages in these basic inputs this school year.
According to Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro, the teacher and classroom shortages will be erased “by the end of 2013″ with the help of interventions from local governments, the private sector, and foreign assistance.
DepEd and administration officials told media that the teacher shortage was 145,000 in 2010, with 36,923 hired as of February and 61,510 others to be hired starting this month. Since 2010, government has constructed a total of 33,956 classrooms, which is still short of the total backlog of 66,800 classroom.
“In short, despite DepEd’s ‘zero backlog’ claims, there will be a shortage of 46,567 teacher items and 32,844 classrooms when public schools open on Monday,” said Tinio.
Tinio noted that DepEd continues to rely on 35,449 volunteer Kindergarten teachers, 4,828 mobile teachers and ALS coordinators, and 49,530 teachers funded by local governments, majority of whom are paid less than their DepEd-funded counterparts and have no benefits or job security.
“Government cannot claim that the teacher shortage has been addressed when it relies on 89,807 contractual and grossly exploited teachers, who are paid far below the minimum wage with no benefits and no job security.”
Government also touted as gains the outputs of PPP for School Infrastructure Project, most of which will not be realized by end of 2013. Its Phase I (for schools in Regions I, III, and IV-A) was awarded to two companies just last year while Phase II has yet to begin with the submission of bid documents on June 17.
“Nasa hangin pa lang ang classrooms na ito kaya mismong mga Division ng DepEd ay nag-uulat na para ‘resolbahin’ ang nananatiling classroom shortages, mapipilitan silang magdagdag ng shifts, mag-klase sa ‘non-classroom spaces’ gaya ng mga library o stage, at mas lalo pang palakihin ang class sizes.” ###