Davao Region lacks public school teachers, classrooms

Jun. 05, 2010

DAVAO CITY —The Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DepEd) is still burdened by the perennial problem on shortage of teachers, classrooms and other resources needed for both elementary and secondary public schools in the entire region for the coming school year.

DepEd Southern Mindanao has projected a total of 5,436 teachers required as additional workforce to address the need of the region based on the actual enrolled students of last year.

For the elementary schools, an estimated 2,787 teachers are needed while 2,649 teachers are required in secondary schools for this school year.

Last year, there were 17,007 and 6,623 actual teachers for elementary and secondary schools, respectively. However, Susana Teresa Estigoy, DepEd regional director, lamented, during the launching of Oplan Balik Eskwela on the first Tuesday of June, that they cannot hire new teachers unless Congress approves for budget for these positions.

“We can’t provide for these needs unless the approved national budget this year would allow DepEd to hire,” Estigoy said.

Estigoy reported that Congress last year approved the budget for just 10,000 positions for the entire country’s school system, including classroom teachers, principals, school heads and disbursing officers. Of these, Davao region was only given the budget to hire 600 personnel. Only

Davao City and Panabo City could afford to hire additional teachers using the special education funds.

She said the local government of Davao City paid for the salaries of an additional 300 teachers, while Panabo City was able to hire an additional 200 regular teachers. These additional teaching personnel receive the same salary as teachers hired by DepEd.

Estigoy said local government units (LGUs) have different priorities, citing for instance that Tagum City has the best school buildings because it uses its special education funds to prioritize infrastructure.

To address the shortage of teachers, Estigoy said DepEd provides training for teachers and is resorting to the multi-grade teaching and the double shifting strategies in some areas.

She explained that the double shifting requires the school to have an early morning classes for half of the total students in one section, then late afternoon shift for the other half.

DepEd also lacks classrooms, tables, chairs, and books for the expected incoming enrollees.

The region needs 1,272 and 1,267 classrooms for elementary and secondary schools, respectively. 130,618 pieces of furniture are also needed for elementary schools 49,004 for public high schools.

According to Estigoy, more than 57 million pesos has been allocated this year for the construction and repair of classrooms and toilet seats. This has been augmented by donations by organizations. Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC), for example, has donated classrooms and other needs,

“(However,) we’re still very far from what we need,” Estigoy concluded. (PIA-XI)

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