Dr. Luz Almeda, DepEd Region 12 director, said the new teachers would be assigned starting next month to elementary and secondary schools within the region's nine school divisions. "The number of teachers that would be assigned per division would depend on the scale of their needs," she told an interview over radio station Bombo Radyo.
She said the DepEd was evaluating reports from division superintendents regarding their pupil-to-teacher ratios to facilitate the assignment of the new teachers.
Region 12 is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, Sarangani and the cities of Koronadal, Tacurong, General Santos, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The Department of Budget and Management earlier implemented a color-coding scheme to determine the scale of shortage for new teachers of the country's 17 regional school divisions.
Red tags were given to schools having severe teacher shortage, or a pupil-teacher ratio of more than 50:1. Black tags are for schools that have teachers who are not nationally-funded.
The ideal pupil-to-teacher ratio is 45 pupils to one teacher in a classroom.
Almeda said the new teachers would improve the present pupil-to-teacher ratio of manypublic schools in the region, which reportedly reached as high as 60 to 70 pupils per teacher.
This school year, DepEd pegged a two percent increase in enrolment in all public schools in the region compared to last year.
In a report, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB)-Region 12 noted that the region's enrolees in the elementary level last year reached 548,743, increasing by 1.4 percent from the previous year. This school year, the NSCB said the region has an estimated 716,400 children aged 6 to 12 years old based on their single-age population projection.
South Cotabato, which includes the cities of General Santos and Koronadal, has the most number of elementary enrolment with about 34,800, followed by Cotabato Province, including Kidapawan City, with about 31,900.
The NSCB report did not include figures for the secondary level. (Allen Estabillo / MindaNews)