DepEd to look at exploitation of Filipino teachers abroad

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot 

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that among the priorities of the Department of Education (DepEd) this year is to focus on the "exploitation" of teachers recruited abroad.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DepEd / MANILA BULLETIN) Education Secretary Leonor Briones

"We will have to look at the status of schools and teachers abroad," Briones said in an earlier press conference.

During a recent Cabinet meeting, Briones said there was a report on teachers who go abroad that are being exploited. "Grabe ang exploitation ng mga teachers who leave DepEd, for example, to teach abroad," she said.

"May pattern na nakita kami, especially those who go to the United States hoping for a better life," Briones said. "They will borrow money for their visa, for the processing of their requirements, but when they got there, their salaries and situation is comparable to those of maids," she added.

Briones said that DepEd will be working together with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to address the concern. "We will look into the exploitation of teachers who are attracted to the idea of the great American dream and this is not only in the US but in other countries as well," she added.

Many teachers who go abroad, Briones said, are subjected to many forms of exploitation. "It’s the same with the export of maids, it’s the same with the exporting of teachers," she said.

Briones noted that some teachers who go abroad even resort to borrowing money for the processing of their application while others become sick without insurance.

"It’s beyond our control because they already left the DepEd, the country and they go abroad to teach," Briones said."They go abroad to teach because of very attractive terms but the degree of exploitation is also worrisome," she added.

Briones said that there is a report of DOLE and DFA on this.  "We're going examine the major exchange programs of teachers who go to the US and in other countries," she added.

Aside from examining the status of teachers being recruited to work abroad, Briones said that this year, "we will look at the rationalization of our mammoth organization, continue the review of the K to 12 curriculum."

“Our concern is really the rationalization of the systems, the organizational structure of DepEd because as we all know, it’s a mammoth organization and we have nearly a million personnel,” Briones said. "The systems also resulted to complaints, delays so we have to focus on management as well as organizational structure," she added.

Briones said that DepEd will also focus on the review of the K to 12 curriculum especially with the changes in the environment. "We may have excellent policies, excellent circulars but at the level of the school, there might not be uniformity, so we need to go down to the level of the teachers in so far as policies are concerned," she explained.

With so many things changing and happening, Briones also underscored the need to be constantly updated. There are so many things which are happening so we need to keep pace," she said. "We keep in track with all the changes because knowledge is changing," she added.

Briones said that given the size of DepEd, "it’s much more difficult for such a big organization to face the changes" thus, "we need to be “nimble” and we need to anticipate."

Overall, Briones said that this year, the "focus is organizational structure, curriculum, and emerging legal issues and of course, the very volatile and exciting political environment."