Press Release
October 1, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 928:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the DepEd proposal to hire Para-Teachers

A few of my colleagues at the Senate have urged the DepEd to fill its 55,000-plus vacancies - over 34,000 of which are teaching positions - in order to fully implement the blended learning modality for the coming school year. Let me make it clear that I also echo this sentiment. Thousands of teachers have been displaced owing to the closure of private schools which could no longer maintain operations amid the pandemic. Marapat lang na mabigyan sila ng pagkakataon na muling makapagturo at makapaghanapbuhay. These vacancies have to be filled as soon as possible.

However, I must also express concern that simply hiring more teachers to implement the program may become problematic because of the inherent unpredictability of the situation. This is why I laud the DepEd's innovative plan to hire para-teachers to assist distance learners with their lessons.

By acknowledging that not all parents are capable of teaching their children, DepEd saw this need for para-teachers to materialize and the opportunity to introduce local, community-based solutions to the problem of distance learning.

With this proposal, DepEd has effectively conceded that a top-down approach alone cannot be counted upon to implement the monumental task of blended learning modality for students owing to the differing contexts and needs of each learner under the program.

The DepEd may be on to something here. Kudos to them for thinking outside the box and heeding the concerns of millions of parents and guardians who need help teaching their children.

In the meantime, I urge my colleagues to thoroughly examine and scrutinize the DepEd budget to optimize its allocations in preparation for this transition. Let us leave no stone unturned in order to guarantee that the funding for public education is altogether sufficient and properly allocated to be able to meet the needs of both our educators and learners amid this health crisis.

Let us ensure that DepEd can stay true to its word that, indeed, no child will be left behind.

(Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 928, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_928)

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