Education Woes: Looking Into Public School Teacher Surplus, Shortage
THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’s (DepEd) data shows the need for more than 38,000 public school teachers in the country. Ironically, the same database shows a surplus of public school teachers in some cities, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR).
CMFR cheers GMA 7’s 24 Oras’ efforts for looking into the problem of teacher surplus and relating it to the concurrent issue of teacher shortage.
In a special report aired on June 12, 24 Oras presented the situation by comparing teacher-student ratios in two public elementary schools. The Sta. Ana Elementary School in Manila has 166 teachers for 3,200 students – a ratio of one teacher for every 19 students. The situation in Malbeg Primary School in Nueva Ecija is starkly different. A teacher there has to hold two classes at once in the same classroom, each of a different grade level.
The report interviewed DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones who acknowledged the shortage. The report also referred to a study conducted by the World Bank in 2014 that said 53 percent of elementary schools in the Philippines had teacher surplus. This is supported by the current data from DepEd reflecting 47,728 excess teachers in the country. The World Bank Program Leader for Human Development Gabriel Demombynes recommended the transfer of surplus teachers from one area to other public schools lacking teachers.
Briones and Demombynes recognize the difficulty of re-assigning teachers from one public school to another, according to the three-minute report. Republic Act 8190 or the Localization Law says that it is a priority for a teacher to be assigned at a school in his or her barangay, municipality, city or province. The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers also says that the teacher cannot be transferred to a school, without his or her consent.
As a solution, DepEd is currently encouraging teachers to transfer to other schools by providing them incentives.
24 Oras’ report calls attention to one urgent problem in public education. It opens doors for dialogue and discussion that could help identify a solution and relieve the public school system of this crisis.