Department of Education (DepEd) officials on Friday called for an increase in guidance counselors’ pay to help address the lack of such professionals in public schools.
DepEd has asked the Department of Budget and Management for additional funds to increase the salary of guidance counselors, but the request has not yet been approved.
“We have pointed this out from the time that I came in and we have been negotiating and bringing this to the attention of the Department of Budget and Management,” said DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said.
When guidance counselors join a public school, they start with about P21,000 salary. DepEd is asking DBM to adjust their pay to around P31,000 to compensate them properly for their work.
“We talk about mental health. We talk about helping children make decisions as to what courses they will be taking, decisions about life, about sexuality, about reproductive health. We need professionals… To get professionals, we need to pay them adequately,” Briones said.
The DepEd Chief said, of the 3,500 available slots for guidance counselors in public schools, only 1,300 positions are filled. Many teachers are forced to take on the role, but often under a different title.
The law requires guidance counselors to have a master’s degree and pass a licensure exam. DepEd said the masteral degree requirement and the low pay may be discouraging the youth from wanting to pursue the career path of guidance counselors.
Deped said there are only 3,220 registered guidance counselors in the country, which means that even if all of them join public schools, it still won’t be enough.
“The profession itself is not necessarily attracting enough graduates to go into the field and if they’re in the field, to go to the public sector,” Briones said.
Source / Credits:
- CNN Philippines
- By Ina Andolong