DepEd mandates priority hiring of science, math teachers

As the education sector gears for the implementation of K-12 in June, the Department of Education (DepEd) said it has prioritized the hiring of math and science teachers for public schools for the coming school year.

DepEd Secretary Brother Armin Luistro has issued Memorandum No. 55, series of 2012 mandating the priority hiring of teachers who graduated as science scholars to address the critical need for maths and science teachers nationwide.

Luistro said Department of Science and Technology - Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) scholars should be in the priority list of DepEd Regional Directors when hiring new teachers in public secondary schools.

“Our eyes are set on them because they have the proper training and are better equipped to teach the sciences --- a very critical input for our students,” explained Luistro.

100,000 teachers needed

The Philippines, with its over 90 million population, is in need of teachers. According to Deped data, there are about 510,629 teachers in the country and 99,628 more are needed.

There are currently some 143 graduate scholars of DOST-SEI who are available for hiring for school year 2012-2013. These 2011-2012 graduates majored in Physics, Physical Science, Chemistry and Mathematics from state colleges and universities across the country.

As stipulated in the scholarship agreement, scholars, upon completion of their courses are required to teach in public secondary schools in their home region for a period equivalent to the number of years they enjoyed the scholarship.

“Of course, they should have passed first the Licensure Examination for Teachers within the year,” added Luistro.

The National Competitive Council, meanwhile, is urging the government to put more focus on math and science subjects.

Guillermo Luz, co-chair of the NCC, said the Philippines need to step up in educating its people on math and science to be competitive.

Poor global competitiveness

"In recent years, many in the business community have complained about our state of education. Indeed, in global competitiveness indices, we have been rated poorly in terms of quality of basic education, quality of science and math education, low collaboration between Industry and the Academe, and low in innovation," he said in a statement after Luistro made a presentation before the NCC late last month.

Luz said the NCC supports the K-12 program by the government and the mandatory kindergarten classes for all five year olds. The phased reforms in the education sector will make sure that students are able to read by the time they enter Grade 1. Those 2 additional high school years will give students more options into the world of education and work, he said.

The government aims to start the mandatory kindergarten program this 2012 school year. Public high schools will also begin to add two more years in their curriculum this year.

PNoy's flagship education program

The implementation of K-12 is a flagship education program of the Aquino administration that aims to improve the quality of Filipino high school graduates by giving them more time to learn academic and vocational subjects.

Luz said the effects of the K-12 program will not manifest immediately. However, this is a right step in making the Filipino workforce more competitive. It will also make the Philippines an attractive destination for investments.

"The changes will take time to fully implement and its effects may not be fully felt for many years. The important thing is that changes will happen and that something has finally been done to address our many educational challenges. These changes should be able to make the country, firms, and people more competitive," Luz said.

The NCC is a public-private sector body dedicated to building up the long-term competitiveness of the Philippines through policy reforms, project implementation, institution-building, performance monitoring and goal-setting.

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