Friday, June 21, 2024

Lack of plantilla teaching posts in SUCs affecting quality higher education

A congressional inquiry is being sought on the reported lack of adequate plantilla positions for full-time faculty of State universities and colleges (SUCs). This is aimed at addressing issues and concerns affecting the delivery of quality higher education in the country.

Photo credit: www.cagayanvalley.com
Photo credit: www.cagayanvalley.com

“The quality of state universities and colleges is defined mainly by the quality of their faculty,” Pasig City Rep. Roman T. Romulo stressed as he urged the Committee on Higher and Technical Education, thru the Committee on Rules, to conduct such inquiry, in aid of legislation, thru HR 1863.

Based on the 2014 survey of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), there is an estimated shortage of 17.057 faculty in SUCs, and most SUCs have a faculty-to-student ration of 1:42 which is higher than the standard faculty-to-student ratio of 1:25, he revealed.

Romulo also took note of news reports that indicated there are 31,739 full-time faculty as against 16,674 part-time faculty working in the country.

“There is a need to revisit the plantilla of SUCs faculty and to reduce their workload from 21 to 18 units or even lower, not only to improve faculty performance in instruction, research and extension services, but also to ensure the delivery of quality higher education,” Romulo said.

PASUC has reported that the number of part-time SUCs faculty handling 255,850 units is now estimated at 184,782, and it also estimated that the creation of the much needed faculty plantilla items will require approximately P5.5-billion, Romulo noted.

He also said that based on the National Expenditure Program of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), there are 56,899 filled plantilla positions for the SUCs faculty.

The PASUC report also indicated that no additional plantilla items have been given by the DBM to SUCs for the last 15 years and because of this, the SUCs have utilized the “scrap and build policy” of the department.

“PD No. 985, otherwise known as the Budgetary Reform Decree on Compensation and Position Classification if 1976 issued on August 22, 1976, is reportedly still being used as basis for the present plantilla positions of SUCs,” Romulo said.

The shortage of plantilla positions, Romulo said, have compelled the teachers to devote most of their time and attention to instruction, to the detriment of research and extension programs of the SUCs, which is another reason why “our SUCs lag behind other higher education institutions in Asia in terms of performance and quality.”

In Region 11 alone, he added, 95.60 percent of the 1,911 college faculty are involved in higher education programs, 28 or 1.47 percent of which are involved in both advanced higher education and extension, and only less than one percent are involved in research and auxillary services.

“The situation gets worse when new courses are added by the SUCs to meet the demands of the industry because the new course offerings are not support by the creation of corresponding plantilla positions,” the author pointed out.

He further noted that faculty members are even given administrative positions to govern and manage the university affairs along with academic, extension, research and production programs of SUCs.

Furthermore, the Region 11 report of SUCs presidents stated that faculty members appointed to administrative positions of president, vice president, deans, executive officers, campus administrators and department chairmen are given respective teaching loads ranging from 12 to 21 units while those faculty members with semestral workload of 21 units who are assigned as coordinators, program leaders, project in-charge or study leaders are given additional teaching loads ranging from three to nine units.

The lawmaker added that the lack of full-time plantilla positions has lured some SUCs faculty to switch to other careers or leave for work abroad, thereby finding it more difficult for the SUCs to meet the standard faculty-to-student ratio.

“The existing plantilla can no longer cater to the increasing trends in enrollment and the SUCs have been compelled to hire additional faculty through contracts, job order and emergency instructors on part-time status,” Romulo pointed out.

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