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DepEd exec says more OFW teachers needed back home

06 November 2017

DepEd exec says more OFW teachers needed back home

By Vir B. Lumicao

A top-ranking education official in the Philippines has reiterated the need for more OFW teachers to go home and teach, as the government’s Kindergarten to Grade 12, or K-12, program, enters the final stage of its implementation.

Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo told The SUN that next school year, 81,000 new teachers’ posts will be added. He was speaking on the sidelines of a seminar of would-be teachers at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office on Oct. 28.

Mateo said that this is on top of the 55,000 teachers added to the country’s public school system this school year, five years after the K-12 program took effect.

He was in Hong Kong to speak at a seminar on the Department of Labor and Employment’s SPIMS (Sa Pinas, Ikaw ang Ma’am, Sir”) reintegration program for returning public and private school teachers and education graduates.

Labor Attaché  Jalilo dela Torre said 158 would-be teachers, all passers of the Licensure Examination for Teachers, attended the seminar held in cooperation with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, DepEd, Philippine Normal University, and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs.

Mateo said the OFW-teachers in Hong Kong have a big chance of landing a teaching position in the country’s public schools when they go home, as long as they comply with DepEd’s requirements.

“Of course, we can’t sacrifice the quality of education,” Mateo said, explaining that a teaching applicant must also have subject specialization. “For example, we cannot just hire any teacher to teach mathematics, we will look for someone who graduated in Math or any course related to Math.”

The education official explained this is so because when a pupil advances in grade school, he must have specialization or focus on subjects.

Mateo said the country has 700,000 teachers in its public school system. He said the departure of teachers from their jobs in previous years to work abroad mainly as domestic helpers did not have an impact on the teaching sector because supply was available.

But there will be bigger demand for teachers in coming years because of the K-12 program, Mateo said.

Mateo also emphasized that DepEd is trying to improve the teaching and learning environment by decreasing the sizes of classes.

“On the average, the proportion is one is to 34, one teacher for every 34 students. But you cannot say that in highly urbanized areas like the National Capital Region, doon mataas iyon,” Mateo said.

He said one problem in the NCR is the lack of space for school buildings so, school owners are now required to build multi-storey edifices.

Mateo said DepEd is observing a ratio of one teacher per 25 pupils for kindergarten, 1:35 for Grade 1 to Grade 3, and 1:40 for Grades 4 to 10.

“We’re trying to reach that by employing more qualified teacher,” Mateo said.

Asked where OFW-teachers will be assigned when they go home, he said it depends on the requirement of the school.

“But definitely they will be assigned in a school where there is a requirement near their residence, not exactly walking distance but at least accessible,” he said.

Other speakers in the seminar were Dr. Marilyn Balagtas and Director Serafin Arviola of the Philippine Normal University, Director Aniceta Deuna of OWWA, and Roel Martin and Kristin Monares of NRCO.

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