MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) can tap qualified senior citizens to become volunteer teachers, the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) said Thursday, offering a solution to the shortage in educators and other school personnel.
In a statement, NCSC Chairman Franklin Quijano said "a good number" of senior citizens are "knowledgeable enough" to assist teachers with their tasks.
"Our elderly parents and now, senior citizens are our first teachers... they are the best educators, supreme motivators and the greatest assets of our nation and they're just there waiting to be tapped," Quijano said.
Seniors can also help in the DepEd's Brigada Eskwela (BE) campaign, wherein education stakeholders and volunteers collaborate to prepare schools for the school opening, he said. This year's BE runs until Aug. 26.
Quijano said he submitted a proposal to Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, who "promised to review [the proposal's] salient features for possible integration into DepEd's existing program[s]."
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers earlier reported that 26,000 teaching positions in DepEd have yet to be filled as of February 2021 while there is a provision in the 2022 budget for 10,000 new teaching items.
The DepEd has also said it was planning to hire more non-teaching personnel to relieve teachers of administrative tasks.
A bill recently filed at the House of Representatives seeks to remove the mandatory retirement age of 65.