ARMM hiring more licensed teachers PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 31 August 2014 14:37

More than 600 teachers are presently applying “en masse” for vacant teaching positions in far-flung areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

John Magno, assistant regional secretary for operations of the Department of Education, said 625 teacher-applicants are now being screened to determine if they are qualified for appointment by the region’s chief executive, Governor Mujiv Hataman.

The ARMM government had enlisted from between May to July this year more than a thousand teacher-applicants to permanent teaching positions in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“The recruitment procedures takes time because we are imposing stringent validation of the qualifications of each applicant based on our `Teachers Assessment and Competency Examination,’ which is a very extensive process,” Magno said.

The high illiteracy in the autonomous region is partly blamed on lack of competent teachers in far-flung schools and on the anomalous hiring of thousands in the past, mostly non-residents without teaching licenses who were appointed to teaching positions in exchange for money.

The central office of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the hiring of additional 1,637 new teachers in the autonomous region for fiscal year 2014.

“The records from the DBM pertaining to that are intact in our office, open to scrutiny by the media and concerned sectors,” Magno said.

Magno said their screening procedures for applicants are also open to journalists and observers from non-government organizations and the ARMM’s Islamic and Christian religious communities.

“We don’t hire applicants who are like square wooden pegs that are being forced into round holes on the ground. That is the reason why we can’t hire as many teachers within a very short period of time,” Magno said.

The DepEd-ARMM is keen on filing out all vacant teaching positions within the year, Magno added.

Lawyer Laisa Alamia, who is ARMM’s regional executive secretary, said the DBM will not download the funds for the salaries corresponding to each of the approved permanent teaching items unless filled out appropriately.

Alamia and Magno both said the ARMM’s education department is not “freezing” vacant teaching positions either, contrary to insinuations by applicants who failed in the entrance examinations.

Magno said there were applicants who underwent the DepEd-ARMM’s extensive screening processes, but eventually failed for not having licenses and for flunking in practical teaching demonstration drills.

“It took us time to screen them. We need to consider new applications again and the process takes time,” Magno pointed out.

Alamia said new appointees cannot receive salaries yet until their appointments have been attested by the field office of the Civil Service Commission in the autonomous region.

“It is only after DBM approves the attested appointment that the salary allocation for each teaching position can be downloaded to the region. We’re not dilly dallying here. We’re putting everything in proper perspective,” Alamia said.