Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal. (Photo courtesy of MBHTE-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – As in-person classes in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) draw near, regional education officials announced Tuesday the need to hire some 900 new teachers.

“We are hiring and this is urgent because of the anticipated opening of the face-to-face (F2F) classes for the school year 2022-2023,”  Minister Mohagher Iqbal of the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE-BARMM) said.

Iqbal said Sulu will be needing about 500 new teachers, both at elementary and high school levels.

“Maguindanao needs 400 new teachers,” he said, adding that 200 will be for Maguindanao schools division 1 and the other for Maguindanao schools division 2.

BARMM schools also need additional armchairs and classrooms, he said.

“We have prepared for this, all that we need primarily are teachers, Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) passers who will serve the communities,” Iqbal said.

Vice President and Department of Education Secretary Sara Duterte earlier declared the start of the school year in November this year.

Meanwhile, the MBHTE-BARMM said it is eyeing some 600,000 new enrollees this school year.

BARMM, composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, has a population of 4,404,288 based on the 2020 census.

MBHTE said this year’s school population is expected to be more than two million.

“We are prepared and foremost in this preparation are health protocols to ensure our school children are safe from coronavirus disease 2019,” Iqbal said, adding that his office has coordinated with the BARMM’s health ministry. (PNA)