DepEd lacks 15,000 teachers – Briones

Camille Elemia
DepEd lacks 15,000 teachers – Briones
Education Secretary Leonor Briones also defends the proposed higher budget for 2017, saying more resources are needed due to backlogs and the implementation of Grade 12

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday, September 26, said it still lacks 15,000 teachers to date.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones gave the figure to the Senate during the hearing on her agency’s proposed 2017 budget amounting to P566 billion – 31.3% higher than the 2016 budget of P436.5 billion.

Briones said more than 30,000 new teachers had already been recruited but 15,000 more teaching posts still have to be filled.

She said they are looking for more Mathematics and English teachers, as more students prefer the academic track of the K to 12 program.

“We need 53,000 more teachers – we already hired 30,000 so the 15,000 is the shortage. We are hunting for Math and English teachers because this is where the need is greatest considering the fact that 60% of our learners prefer the academic program,” Briones said.

Starting next year, the government is set to implement Grade 12 of the K to 12 program.

Higher budget

Briones also defended the increase in the DepEd’s budget, saying there are backlogs that have to be filled and programs to be expanded such as the implementation of Grade 12.

“Why give higher budget at this time? Underspending is caused by backlogs and the underspent budget will be spent on the backlogs. This is the 2017 budget, 2017 budget will need more resources, introducing Grade 12,” Briones said.

The DepEd chief added that the agency is expanding the Alternative Learning System (ALS), as ordered by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte in his first State of the Nation Address.

Briones said the government is reaching out to the youth and children who are out of school, including those in drug rehabilitation centers. (READ: SONA 2016: Duterte wants mandatory education on evils of drugs)

The DepEd, she said, is currently developing programs for “hard-to-reach mountain regions,” such as small islands and densely populated areas.

They also plan to reach out to children of illegal Filipino migrants or those who do not know their citizenship.

“In 2017, we want to ensure every Filipino out of school has access to institution, with complete quality basic education, with emphasis on quality. You hear stories about the quality of our education at present,” Briones said.

“We also move forward to having every graduate prepared for further education if it is the child’s choice,” she added. (READ: Duterte’s education concerns: Out-of-school youth, displaced teachers– Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com