FROM whom we learn is among the pillars of ensuring quality education.

This year is the “guinea pig” stage, following the implementation of the K to 12 education system. There will be challenges that have to be addressed, the preparedness of the schools and most especially the teachers, for one.

Department of Education (DepEd)-Davao spokesperson Jenielito Atillo, in an interview with Sun.Star Davao said the success rate of the new education system implementation, teachers are standing on crucial ground.

“Human resource, specially teachers are one of the important factors and indicators for ensuring quality education. They are vital in securing that conducive environment for learning will be experienced by pupils and students,” he said citing that quality teachers will fill, in a way, the lack of education facilities like classrooms, buildings, books to name a few.

Are there enough?

As of June 2016, Davao Region received a total of 1,609 teacher allocation, according to the DepEd-Davao data.

“This is broken down to the different teachers’ item from Teacher 1 to Master teachers. Of the 1, 609, 15 of which are special science teachers,” Atillo said.

He added that another 485 non-teaching personnel were hired, composed of clerks, administrative staff, principals, among others.

“In totality, for SHS implementation alone, R11 will be fielding 2,094 people,” he said.

Atillo also said that the department is still in the process of hiring teaching employees. But he was quick to add that the present number of teachers was enough to meet the number of students for Grade 11.

DepEd-Davao, as of late May of this year recorded a total of 15,180 enrolled students in the public schools out of the 52,566 expected students for SHS this year.

“The 1,609 teaching force are enough already for Grade 11 students in the public schools, but definitely we need to hire more next year for Grade 12 students,” he said.

In the region, of the 303 existing public schools, 298 were offering SHS.

The public schools were hiring teachers from public and private schools, even those from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

“They go through a stringent process, in recruitment, in DepEd public schools we have standards to follow, which is not easy because we interviewed, let them do literal demonstration and undergone deliberation, submission of supporting documents that they are Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) passers, we make sure that they are aligned to our quality standards,” Atillo said.

DepEd-Davao assistant regional director Teresita Tambagan said in a separate interview that government-run schools in the country, intended to run the K to 12 curriculum this year needed over 33,000 teachers.

There were more than 44,000 applicants, she said, but the teachers who made the cut in Davao Region were very minimal.

The stringent qualifications, according to her, might be filtering applicants.

She said that this is being looked into so that teaching positions can be filled. She added that some K-12 tracks do not necessarily required teachers to have teaching units as long as they were in the profession of that industry and were proficient in knowledge and skill, especially to private schools.

For private schools

Private schools meanwhile, have all the discretion on whom to hire and DepEd can only recommend policies.

“It entirely depends upon them, if who they hire based on their own standards. But on issues that some private schools here are just randomly hiring people even they lack credentials and competence, I’d like to refute that assumption,” he said.

“I believe private schools will not pick a stone to bang their heads with because this is SHS and their performance will be evaluated by DepEd every time, so they can’t go wrong on this,” Atillo added.

In Davao Region, there are a total of 209 private schools offering SHS.

Elton John Bonsucan, human resource manager of the Holy Cross of Davao College, Inc., one of the private schools offering SHS, told Sun.Star Davao that their teaching force for the SHS was sufficient to meet the over 550 students enrolled in Grade 11.

“We have sufficient number of qualified teachers now but still even as late as last week of June we are still hiring,” he said adding that most of what they are hiring are education graduates, industry professional and

HEIs professors

Bonsucan said that they are abiding with the K-12 curriculum, depending on the track they offer. HCDC is offering Academic (Humanities and Social Sciences strand, Accountancy, Business and Management strand), Technical-Vocational Livelihood, and Sports tracks.

When asked if they are hiring non-LET passers, Bonsucan answered they hired, provided that educators will earn at least 18 education units and pass LET in a span of five years for college instructors who transferred to teach SHS.

“For some tracks like academic tracks such as Accountancy, Business and Management strand, we are hiring those who have industry experience,” he said.

Bonsucan explained that in hiring teachers, one shall undergo shortlisting by the principal, actual demonstration teaching, academic panel deliberation, pre-employment examination, final panel interview and final deliberation.

“We assure everyone that those who enrolled here will acquire affordable quality education aligned to our school’s vision and mission,” he added.

Atillo, was firm in saying that for the first years of the K-12 implementation, a lot of concerns and challenges will occur, but there is noway out but to push for the implementation of the new curriculum as the nation gears towards a better education system.

“For the early years of implementation, we are certain that challenges and problems will beset the education sector but, of course, we are ready for that, we do hope all these concerns will help us on the grade 12 next year. We cannot promise heaven but we will exert more positive efforts to respond on these,” he said.