Low pay and poor work benefits cause exodus of teachers in private schools

May. 16, 2014

TAGUM CITY – Low salary. Poor work benefits. No security of tenure.

These were the reasons cited by private school teachers for the exodus of their colleagues to the public schools.

Their exact number could not be immediately determined but random interviews with some of them revealed that government teaching positions are currently the better, if not, the only option over issues of security of tenure, higher paying job and other perks.

Renalyn Oclea, a teacher in a sectarian school, said salary “is low as it is dependent only on the number of enrollees for a particular school.

“We in the private schools don’t have the perks and benefits that public school teachers usually enjoyed. The reason why we apply at Department of Education is for us to have a stable job,” said Oclea.

Oclea likened her employment situation in the private school to that of a “springboard”, saying that “once I gained enough experience, I would teach in the public school which offers competitive salary and is more stable.”

Another teacher, Oliver Rendon, told DavaoToday that security of tenure in the private school is less assured despite existing labor laws and regulations in the private school.

“It does not give you the assurance that your employment in the private school will last because there are crucial factors that will determine the status of your employment such as the enrollment rate and your teaching performance,” Rendon said.

For School Year 2014-2015, Deped Davao Norte is projecting an enrolment of 109,972 with 9,298 in the kindergarten, 70,144 in the elementary and 30,530 in the

Total projected enrolment is 3.2 percent higher than the previous year’s 106,484 enrolees.

A DepEd report obtained by DavaoToday also bared that with the projected enrollment for School Year 2014-2015, teacher requirement for both kindergarten and elementary is 2,108, while another 1,218 is need for the secondary, or high school level.

There are 68 teachers for the kindergarten and elementary, and 78 teachers for secondary level, a total of 146 newly hired teachers in DepEd Davao del Norte this year.

Josephine L. Fadul, DepEd Davao del Norte Schools Division Superintendent, told DavaoToday “a total of 146 teachers were already hired to fill the national vacancies for School Year 2014-2015.”

“The new teaching appointments will hopefully provide the gap of teachers needed in Davao del Norte division. This as we aim to have a zero LSB-paid teachers (Local School Board) this school year,” Fadul said.

She would not say however, how many came from the private schools.

Sr. Ma. Domitilla B. Sendino, administrator of the Dominican-ran Maryknoll School of Lupon, Davao Oriental, said public schools have become attractive to some private school teachers.

“I believe there is a possibility [that public schools have become competitors]. One reason is that private schools find it very difficult to pay teachers that are at par with those of the public schools,” she said.

She admitted that many private schools offer low wages to their teachers compared to the public school teachers. “Public schools have no problem because they are paid by the government and infrastructures and development are supported. So, the tendency of private school teachers is to leave the school to look for a greener pasture,” Sr. Sendino said.

In the issue of the teacher’s performance, Pendon said that the danger is when one fails to meet the standards of the school, “although due process is observed, the school will likely kick you out,” Rendon said.

Under the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools (MRPS), a private school teacher can only attain permanent status if the teacher has satisfactorily passed a probationary period of three consecutive school.

To stem the tide of transfer of their teachers, some private schools reportedly tell the former to sign an agreement or supplemental contracts “that will require them to pay the school a certain amount in case a breach is committed such as transferring-out in the middle of the school year”.

“I believe that this move is unfair and draconean. They couldn’t even provide for our basic needs and yet they will restrict us to be out of the school if I will be hired in DepEd. That’s very inhuman,” said Armando, a private school teacher applying for a public school teaching post.

A DepEd official who requested anonymity said that “such scenario is normal to happen because a public school has a different hiring period depending on the teachers’ need opposite to the usual practice done in the private schools.”

When asked about purported supplemental contracts, the official said that “private schools are at liberty to do so because it is within the prerogative of the management to secure their teachers for staffing purposes.”

Armando said that academic positions and appointments in the private schools are marred always with controversy, gossip and favoritism. (davaotoday.com)

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