GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 June) – The teacher shortage in Region 12’s 396 public high schools has increased to 2,657 as the total enrollment in the area was seen to hit nearly 240,000 by the end of the month.
Herlita Caraan, National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Region 12 chief, said data released by DepEd Region 12 showed that the area’s high school population for school year 2012-2013 was projected to grow by two percent or reach a total of 239,058 students.
Enrollment in public schools in the region will continue until the end of June as set by DepEd.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Caraan said that based on DepEd 12’s projections, the teacher requirement in the region’s secondary schools this year has increased to 8,849 from last year’s 8,680.
DepEd 12 presently has 6,534 regular high school teachers, increasing by 214 from last year’s 6,320, she said.
In school year 2011-2012, the official said the region’s teacher shortfall reached 2,360 based on its total enrollment of 234,371.
“(DepEd 12) needs to hire an additional 2,657 teachers (this year) to better serve its nearly 240,000 students,” Caraan cited in a fact sheet issued by NSCB-12.
Among Region 12’s five cities, she said such shortage was “most evident in General Santos City, which needs an additional 440 teachers.”
“All four provinces in the region have severe shortage of teachers but it’s most acute in Cotabato Province at 765,” the official said.
Caraan pointed out that the current teacher shortage was based on the standard ratio of 45 students per teacher and 5:3 teacher-class ratio as provided for by DepEd Order No. 77-2010 or the “guidelines on the allocation/deployment of new teaching, teaching-related and non-teaching positions.”
The DepEd order noted that the 5:3 teacher-class ratio “means five (5) teachers to handle three (3) classes or a requirement of 1.67 teachers for every organized class.”
“Overall, all provinces and cities in the region satisfied the standard teacher-student ratio of 1:45. However, the situation at the school level particularly for large national high schools reflected otherwise. Of the 396 public secondary schools in the region, 182 schools have teacher–student ratio of more than 40 students per teacher,” Caraan said.
She said 64 schools in Cotabato Province have teacher-student ratios of over 40 students while Sarangani has 46 schools.
Caraan said they expect the teacher shortage in the region to worsen with the implementation starting this year of DepEd’s K to 12 Enhanced Basic Education Program.
Under the program, incoming high school students this June 2012 will belong to the first batch of students projected to enter Grade 11 by school year 2016-2017.
The K to 12 program made kindergarten mandatory for children aged five years-old and added two more years for secondary education.
Based on the K to 12 model, a child will have to pass two years of kindergarten, six-years of elementary education, four years of junior high school (Grade 7 to 10) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11 to 12), or a total of 14 years of basic education. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)