By Ellson Quismorio
ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro has welcomed the approval of her bill recognizing the annual observance of World Education Support Personnel Day at the House committee level, saying such a recognition has been long due.
“It is high-time that government dedicate a day to recognize them and their work,” Castro said, referring to the House committee on basic education and the committee on higher and technical education’s approval of House Bill (HB) No. 513.
Principally authored and filed by the solon in the previous (17th) Congress, the bill declares May 16 a special working holiday in honor of education support personnel.
The measure intends to “enable society to celebrate and value their important role in providing quality education to the Filipino people.”
“Honoring education support personnel and celebrating their important role in providing quality education for the Filipino people also highlights the duty of government to take concrete steps to promote and protect their status, rights, and conditions of service,” Castro added.
She said the bill affirms that the administration of quality education is impossible without teaching assistants, registrars, clerks, school doctors, nurses, psychologists, guidance counselors, librarians, and the rest of the professional, administrative, technical, and general staff working in the education sector.
Castro said figures from the Department of Education (DepEd) showed that there are 24 education support personnel for every teacher.
“The lack of education support personnel forces teachers to fulfill the roles of nurses, guidance counselors, maintenance staff, security guards, clerks, and many others,” she pointed out.
Castro said education support personnel in the Philippines are ignored and undervalued just like their international counterparts.
“Non-teaching personnel in public and private education are paid inadequate salaries and benefits. The minimum pay for regular employees is far below the living wage, and the salaries of non-regular employees are even lower,” she said.
“This bill was formed as Education International, a global union federation, raised concerns on the increased exploitation of education support personnel, the absence of decent work conditions, and the violation of fundamental human and labor rights…In this light, we urge the House leadership to immediately tackle this measure for its passage into law.”