MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/04 June) – The Department of Education in Bukidnon has hired 664 new teachers for schoolyear 2013-2015, a “welcome development” according to Dr. Ingrid Racoma, schools division superintendent.
Racoma told MindaNews that out of the 1,070 new teachers needed, 664 or 62% were hired for assignment to 30 school districts in 20 towns with a student population of 220,000 for both elementary and high school.
More than half of the newly-hired — 354 of 664 — were assigned to high schools while the remaining 310 were assigned to elementary schools.
DepEd also hired 259 of the 475 new teachers needed for kindergarten.
The new teachers are among 61,510 teachers DepEd hired nationwide to “finally solve the shortage of teachers in public schools.
DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro was quoted by Manila reporters to have described the hiring this year as “historic” since DepEd usually hires only about 10,000 new teachers every year.
Racoma said they are grateful for the additional teachers especially because most of the schools in Bukidnon need new teachers.
But she noted that the national office identified where the new teachers would be assigned. Hence, some schools where new teachers are badly needed, have not been give an allocation.
She said two school districts in Maramag, one in Don Carlos, and in Impasug-ong town in Kalabugao plains where majority of the residents are Lumad, have not been allotted a new hire.
DepEd Bukidnon schools division does not include the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia.
Racoma said the problem of teacher shortage has been partly addressed. Now they need only 216 teachers for kindergarten, 355 more for elementary schools, and 51 more for high schools.
Racoma has deployed a team of supervisors to monitor enrolment and the assignment of teachers. In previous school years, some teachers were pulled out from teaching and stationed in the principal’s office for administrative work.
“This has to stop. Principals should do their work,” she added, noting that there is no budget to hire non-teaching staff in DepEd.
In 2012-2013, the teacher to student ratio in Bukidnon’s elementary school was at 40.55 to a teacher. Racoma said it was manageable because it was below the national ideal ratio of 45 students to a teacher.
For high school, the ideal is 40 students to a teacher. Bukidno’s ratio was 40.09 students to a teacher. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)