MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Education (DepEd) is seeking ways to meet the demand for more kindergarten teachers in public schools for school year 2011-2012.
The DepEd, in a press statement on Monday, said it expects more than 2.4 million 5-year-old children to enrol in public schools in the coming school year.
Public schools currently have around 1.5 million kindergarten pupils while another 435,574 are in private schools.
“The move to reach 100% participation in five-year olds numbering to more than 2.4 million in June requires that the ideal number of kindergarten teachers be filled,” the department said.
The DepEd needs an additional P5.7B annual funding for salaries of around 27,000 more kindergarten teachers.
"With the number of kindergarten teachers needed, we are in serious business of exploring various means to address this requirement as we start our universal kindergarten program in June," said DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said.
He acknowledged the public education sector’s needs, which haunt the Philippine basic education system
One of these is the limited number of permanent teaching positions available prompting the department to find alternative means to fill the gaps, according to the DepEd.
"We understand the concern of those who will be hired under contract of service. The bill on universal kindergarten will allow DepEd to allocate funds for permanent positions that is why we are working closely with our legislators to ensure teachers will get the compensation they deserve," Luistro explained.
"The department is looking at several options to help maximize the benefits we can possibly extend to kindergarten teachers. The current P3,000 allowance is per four-hour shift and we are exploring ways to provide them up to at least P12,000.00 in monthly compensation," he added.
Some lawmakers are now trying to help the DepEd meet its requirements for kindergarten teachers, according to Luistro.
"We are very thankful for this and we know that with their continued support, we hope to have the bill enacted to law soon," he said. "While it is true that the current planned solution is a 'band aid' solution, it also serves as an assurance to teachers that they will not be under contract of service for too long.”