Legislator scores zero allocation for new SUC faculty in 2013 budget

ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio decried the lack of funding for new faculty of the 110 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) throughout the country in the proposed 2013 national budget during yesterday’s plenary deliberations at the House of Representatives.

“Zero, as in zero. That’s the number of new teaching positions that will be funded in the proposed 2013 budget for SUCs,” said Tinio. “The fact is, there is a shortage of at least 16,674 regular faculty positions for this year that is not being addressed by Malacañang’s budget proposal.”

“The freeze in the hiring of new faculty is incomprehensible, given the steady increase in enrolment in SUCs annually. Since 2003, enrolment has increased by an average of 75,700 students per year. At that rate, the national government should be creating 2,162 new faculty positions just to keep up. Instead, the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission on Higher Education have maintained a freeze on the creation of new faculty positions for more than a decade,” said Tinio.

In contrast, the national government has proposed P13.4 billion to fund the hiring of 61,510 new public school teachers next year.

To cope with the shortage of regular faculty, SUCs have been making use of so-called “part-time” faculty. “Approximately one-third of the teaching force in SUCs are part-time faculty. They are highly exploited contractuals who have no job security, are paid a fraction of the compensation of regular faculty, and are not entitled to any benefits,” noted Tinio. “They are part-time only in name, because they typically take on teaching loads in excess of the regular 15 to 18 units per semester.”

Currently, there are 31,789 full-time faculty as against 16,674 part-time faculty working in the country’s SUCs.

The party-list representative questioned the justification put forward by DBM that no new items have been given to SUCs because there are currently 5,134 unfilled positions in their plantilla. “The savings from those unfilled positions are being used to pay for 16,674 part-time faculty.”

Tinio noted that in the past few years, the focus has been on the budget cuts to the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses and the zero allocation to Capital Outlay of the country’s 110 SUCs. “In fact, the biggest cuts in higher education funding are in Personal Services. Government saves tens of billions annually by relying on contractual faculty, who are paid meager salaries and no benefits.”

“The Aquino administration cannot claim that it is adequately funding public higher education unless it addresses this gross shortage of regular faculty positions,” said Tinio.

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