ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio yesterday called on the Aquino government in a press release to rethink its plan to employ teachers on a contractual basis when it implements universal kindergarten education next school year.
The Department of Education has announced that it has begun preparations for accepting approximately 2.5 million five-year old children into a universal kindergarten program in school year 2011-2012.
The House of Representatives is set to pass House Bill 3555, “An Act Institutionalizing the Kindergarten Education into the Basic Education System and Appropriating Funds Therefor,” principally authored by Davao Oriental 2nd District Rep. Thelma Almario.
The bill will provide the legal basis for universal kindergarten education in the country. It shall make kindergarten education mandatory and compulsory for children 5 years old and above and a prerequisite for Grade 1, and shall be provided free from tuition and other fees. The bill will be certified as urgent by Malacañang to ensure its swift passage into law.
Tinio said they welcome the move to implement universal kindergarten education and called it a necessary step that will help in reducing the huge number of dropouts in the early elementary grades, but added that, Malacañang must respect the rights and welfare of kindergarten teachers in implementing the program.
Tinio said that during the deliberations on HB 3555 in the Committee on Basic Education and Culture and the Committee on Appropriations, it was revealed that the DepEd intends to employ approximately 30,000 kindergarten teachers on a contractual basis to serve the 2.5 million students targeted for next school year. Each teacher will handle one three-hour session of 45 students in the morning and another in the afternoon and will receive an honorarium of P6,000 per month.
Tinio added that his proposal to the Committee on Appropriations to include a provision guaranteeing the regular employment of kindergarten teachers with compensation in accordance with the Salary Standardization Law was not accepted and the proponents explained that the 2011 budget of the DepEd can not accommodate regular employment and salaries for kindergarten teachers.*