THE EDUCATION department is seeking an additional P2.58 billion in its proposed 2022 budget to hire 10,000 new teachers, which would fill close to a third of its current vacancies.
More than 30,000 teaching positions have yet to be filled as of September this year, leading to the hiring push, according to a statement issued by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
“The positions left unfilled could equate to P13 billion in funds that are not being disbursed,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said Tuesday.
He said that according to Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) data, 71% or 33,260 of the department’s 46,901 vacancies are for teaching positions.
“This has been a recurring issue,” he added. “We have to, once for all, find ways to reduce the six-month turn-around time (for hiring) somehow.”
Education officials said the hiring process usually takes six months. Due to the pandemic restrictions and alternative work arrangements, the department has also had to work with limited staff.
The department is considering accepting applicants with no prior experience, similar to other entry-level positions, to help ease the hiring backlog, Education Undersecretary Wilfredo E. Cabral said at an earlier finance hearing.
In its current budget, P1.82 billion was allocated to create 10,000 teaching positions.
While the Education department aiming for the same number of hires for the upcoming year, the higher P2.58-billion budget will account for the increase in basic salaries as called for by the Salary Standardization Law, Mr. Gatchalian said. “The increase in funds should push the department to accelerate its hiring process and fill the remaining vacancies.” — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan