The government has tightened rules on hiring kindergarten teachers, as it highlighted the importance of improving the quality of early education.
Following last year's rollout of universal kindergarten education in public schools nationwide, DepEd has released additional guidelines in choosing and deploying early education teachers.
"We must adhere to quality standards in preparing our young learners..." Education Secretary Armin Luistro said in a statement.
"[I]t therefore follows that our teachers must be equipped with the required standard as regards competence and qualifications," he added.
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DepEd Order 81 Series of 2012 requires kindergarten teacher applicants to hold degrees in early childhood education, preschool education, family life and child development, or elementary education with specialization in preschool or early childhood education or majoring in teaching early grades.
Secondary education degree-holders may also apply, provided that they have additional diploma in early childhood education including practice teaching in kindergarten education.
Also qualified are graduates of other related courses but who have at least 18 units in early childhood education and child development.
Aside from relevant education, teacher applicants must also have passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers or the Professional Board Examination for Teacher.
They should also not be more than 45 years old, DepEd noted, adding however that teaching experience in kinder or preschool in either public or private schools will also be considered as additional qualifications.
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DepEd is currently hiring teachers who "shall be deployed in public schools where there is an existing kindergarten program with a large population of five-year old children."
Luistro added that a kinder teacher will handle two three-hour classes per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with each class having at least 25 children.
"In a school where there is only one kinder class, the teacher shall handle another class in a nearby school," Luistro said.