THE Department of Education Davao regional office (DepEd 11) on Tuesday said that the region has a projected teacher shortage of 3,832 for school year 2014-15.

Based on the data released by DepEd 11, the projected shortage increased by 604 as compared to last school year's 3,228.

For classrooms, the projected shortage is 4,743, up by 428 as against to last school year's 4,315.

Speaking in Tuesday's Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao, Jenielito Atillo, spokesperson for DepEd 11, said the department has a continuing massive hiring of teachers to address the lack of educators in the region.

Despite the obvious lack of classrooms, Atillo insists the over-all average classroom per student ratio is still 1:50.

But this is because while many of the big schools in the city are crammed with students, there are schools in some areas that lack students, some have even been abandoned.

"Naay mga eskwelahan namroblema sa number sa mga bata. Naay maayong kahimtang, space og uban pang resources (There are schools that have bigger space and enough resources, but their concern is the low student turnout)," he said.

He added that this can only be addressed if parents will send their children to schools near their homes and not to big school in the downtown area.

The official added that the teachers from the Local School Board (LSB) numbering around 500 are also of great help since it can ease the need of public schools for more educators.

"Dako kaayo og pasalamat sa (We are thankful of) City Government, since before they have considered education as one of its priorities," he said.

K TO 12

The shortages in both classrooms and teachers did not discourage Atillo who is still positive that the present system recently adopted for public education bodes well for the students. Atillo said that students in the Kinder to 12 Basic Education program, a new curriculum that is slowly replacing the old basic education, can help students equip themselves with the right skills before proceeding to college.

The additional two years in high school are focused on technical vocational courses, and students who will complete any of the programs will get a National Certificate.

"Sa high school pa lang, naa nay kahibalo. Sauna, kung manrabaho sila, tendency dili madawat sa trabaho or maexploit sila (In high school, they are better equipped. Before when they work, chances are their applications are either turned down or they get exploited) because they are not of matured age to get into work," he said.

With the full implementation of K to 12 in 2016, he said schools can produce more globally competitive graduates.

"We will produce graduates who are not only good in theories but also who can really use their hands and faculties to earn a living," he said.