CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Public school teachers in Northern Mindanao welcomed Wednesday the announcement of Vice President Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio on additional hiring of non-teaching personnel at the Department of Education (DepEd).

Lawyer Michael Poa, DepEd spokesperson, said Duterte’s plan intends to ease administrative works and give more time for teachers to upskill and improve teaching quality.

In an interview, Jessa Marie Vildosola, a teacher at the Kinoguitan National Agricultural High School of Kinoguitan in Misamis Oriental, noted that balancing teaching and non-teaching tasks in schools is time-consuming.

"If you are needed in school, you cannot almost get a vacation, for example, when you are also assigned as a property custodian or an ICT (Information Communication Technology) coordinator," she said.

Hiring more staff suited for non-teaching tasks solves this problem, Vildosola said.

Dr. Ray Butch Mahinay, DepEd-10 education program supervisor, said one of the non-teaching-related tasks among teachers in the public schools includes the bids and awards committee duties.

Mahinay also hopes the new DepEd leadership would look into the curricular and extracurricular activities, suggesting that it may lessen as it can also take time in preparing lesson plans and teaching methods for teachers.

Meanwhile, Francis Jay Damit, school teacher at  Tignapoloan National High School, located in one of the rural barangays of this city, was jubilant when he heard the announcement.

Damit said teachers ideally should have six contact hours with students in the classroom and the remaining two hours for other tasks.

In reality, however, he said they end up preparing school forms, and lesson plans; making of instructional materials, checking papers and making grades that cannot be finished within the two-hour allotted time.

"All the more (that we were given other) with administrative and ancillary works like making liquidation reports, nutritional status reports, guidance counseling, GAD (Gender and Development) activities, 'Gulayan sa Paaralan,' (campus) journalism, and others," he said.

Damit said time is not enough, which is why several teachers bring their pending work home.

In Maigo, Lanao del Norte, Alleli Faith Leyritana, a teacher at Maigo National High School, said the hiring of non-teaching personnel to help with non-teaching tasks would likely free up about 80 percent of their multitasking time.

She said they are assigned to various coordinating tasks, and they are only seven English teachers on a campus of around 1,900 students.

On top of their duties, they are required to visit the houses of some students who are at risk of dropping out.

Dr. Angelina Buaron, DepEd-10's division curriculum chief in Tangub City, also said that ideally, teachers should not perform administrative functions.

However, some school heads sought help from other teachers to prepare reports.

“Maybe specific functions (or duties) also need to be clear to address the problem," she said. (PNA)