OFW-teacher returns home and fulfils dream of teaching, thanks to Sa ‘Pinas, Ikaw ang Ma’am/Sir Project

Date Posted: February 6th, 2015 06:34 AM

Until a year ago, Joan Sugabo Kirit did not know if she will realize her dream to become a teacher. “I had always wanted to be a teacher, but because of financial difficulties, I had to go abroad and try my luck as a household service worker,” said the 34-year old Kirit, a native of Dumaguete City. Because of grit and determination, Ms. Kirit is now one of 10 former overseas Filipino workers who passed the evaluation process of the Department of Education for those who want to be public school teachers under Sa ‘Pinas, Ikaw ang Ma’am/Sir Project of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) launched just recently in the last quarter of 2014. After getting her Bachelor of Elementary Education degree in 2004, Ms. Kirit taught in a private school in Dumaguete. However, because her employment is not regular, her salary was low. Also, at that time he still has to pass the National Licensure Examination for Teachers or the LET. “Nagpa-ranking ako pero mababa lang ang ranking ko kasi wala pa akong LET. Sa isang Catholic school ako nagturo sa Dumaguete, ilang buwan lang kasi at ang baba talaga ng suweldo,” said Ms. Kirit. Because of this, she yielded to a friend’s advice to go abroad and work as a household service worker in Singapore. A week after forwarding her application, her friend’s agency called her up and informed her she already had an employer. Ms. Kirit’s employer lived in Bedok, near Singapore’s Changi airport and has two children. “Doble ang bayad sa Singapore. Mas malaki kaysa sa natatanggap ko doon sa private school at mabait naman ang employer ko. Maayos ang trato nila sa akin,” said Kirit. But, even with a higher salary, Ms. Kirit was still determined to become a teacher. After four years in Singapore, she decided to move to Hong Kong. There she took the LET Exam. “Gusto ko kasing mag-board exam. Sa Singapore, walang board exam. Sa Hong Kong, mayroon. Sabi sa akin ng kaibigan ko na nasa Hong Kong: ‘Huwag kang mag-aksaya ng panahon diyan. Dito sa Hong Kong, kahit paano may board exam at may seminars din.” In Hong Kong, Ms. Kirit attended refreshers and seminars for teachers, while taking care of the grandmother of her employer who it turned was strict and would not allow her to take the LET. Ms. Kirit also heard that previously her employer fired another Filipina because she wanted to take the board exams. “Kahit na alam ko na hindi nila ako papayagan, determined ako na kumuha ng board exam. Nakatira kami sa New Territories, malayo sa Bayanihan Center sa Kennedy Town na pagdarausan ng board exams. Hindi ako allowed na umalis nang maaga. Pero kapag hindi ako umalis ng alas-kuwatro nang umaga, hindi ako makakapag-exam. Kasi alas-sais ang exam,” she said. At the morning of the exam, Ms. Kirit feigned she was sick, so her employer would not know that she left the house before 4:00 A.M. “Hindi na ako naligo, bago mag-alas kuwatro umalis na ako para maabutan ko ang first trip sa tren saka ako nag-bus ako papuntang KennedyTown. Nilakasan ko na lang ang loob ko baka kasi ma-late ako, sayang naman. Sabi ko, bahala na kung palayasin at tanggalin nila ako, kailangan maka-take ako ng exam,” she said. Ms. Kirit’s determination paid off. On March 2013, she passed the LET. It was her second try. She learned of the Sa ‘Pinas, Ikaw and Ma’am/Sir Project through a friend in Facebook who advised her to visit and inquire at the DOLE Regional Office-National Capital Region in Malate, Manila. “Nagpunta ako sa DOLE-NCR. Doon, inaasikaso nila ako at kinuha ang mga dokumento ko para mai-process. Itong next school year mag-start na ako,” said Ms. Kirit who is currently teaching grade schools in a Catholic School in Pasig City. Ms. Kirit is now one of the 10 OFW teachers who are back in the Philippines and will be given plantilla positions in the DepEd as part of the “Sa Pinas, Ikaw ang Ma’am/Sir Project.” Sa Pinas, Ikaw ang Maam/Sir Project is the pioneering convergence project that the DOLE, DepEd, Professional Regulations Commission, and other government agencies conceived to provide licensed teachers who are working abroad as domestic workers or in non-teaching related occupations, to return to the Philippines and teach. “A component of the National Reintegration Program for OFWs, ‘Sa Pinas, Ikaw ang Ma’am/Sir Project’ aims to re-direct OFW-teachers to pursue or resume their teaching careers. ” said Baldoz, who had initiated the program with Secretary Armin Luistro of DepEd. The DepEd had committed to provide returning OFW-teachers careers in the public education system to wean them away from domestic work and uplift their status. The DepEd has 39,000 vacancies for Teacher 1 positions for 2015, and the DOLE had requested Secretary Luistro to allocate 300 of these positions for OFW-teacher returnees. “Sa Pinas, Ikaw ang Maam.Sir Project is part of the effort to provide returning OFW-teachers careers in the public education system to wean them away from domestic work and uplift their professional as well as economic status,” said Baldoz. Baldoz said that the teachers who will be hired will receive additional perks and benefits, including a clothing/uniform allowance; year-end bonus equivalent to one month basic pay; performance bonus depending on teaching performance; and productivity enhancement pay . Other privileges are a one-step increment for every three years of continuous satisfactory performance; hazard allowance for teachers assigned in hardship posts such as those area which cannot be reached by regular means of transportation, but only through hiking, or banca, or motorcylce rides. Qualified to apply for slots in the ‘Sa Pinas, Ikaw ang Ma’am/Sir Project’ are OFWs who have passed the Licensed Examination for Teachers, or LET; with teaching experience within the last five (5) years; or with experience beyond five (5) years; or those without teaching experience. Those with teaching experience beyond five years, or those without teaching experience will have to undergo a refresher course. End/celestemaring

Created Mar 11th 2015, 14:51


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