DepEd ‘still mum’ on calls for add’l support for teachers -- group

A teachers group on Thursday appealed to the Department of Education (DepEd) once again to provide additional support to those who do not have gadgets and are struggling with resources to adapt to the new landscape of education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas (Teachers’ Dignity Coalition / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a 30,000-strong group, reiterated this appeal few days before the formal schooling resumes Monday. The group alleged that the DepEd management is “still mum” on the teachers' concerns on their needed assistance in terms of communication and technology in order to facilitate the distance learning modality.

“Teachers today have absolutely no choice but to spend at least ₱1,500 monthly on Internet connection alone to be able to fulfill their duties to their learners numbering in several hundreds,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas.

Basas noted that video conferences, text messages, calls, surfing, downloading, and uploading materials have become the “new normal” amid the COVID-19 pandemic and have made this digital learning tenfold a necessity.

“But teachers are supplied neither service laptops nor Internet allowances,” Basas said. “Out of their own pockets, they are forced to buy not only laptops, but android phones, external drives, USB drives, printers, ink, and reams of bond paper,” he added.

The list of “requirements,” Basas claimed, does not end there.

He said teachers, who already own or can afford to buy equipment such as laptops, would have to deal with repair costs sooner or later.

''Same goes for printers and other gadgets which usually break down soon after purchase due to overuse. Being 'personal' pieces of equipment, 'repairs and parts replacements will have to be shouldered -- yet once again -- by teachers.'

Basas noted that while some local government units (LGUs) are able to pitch-in on equipment like laptops once in a while, the DepEd “must fulfill its mandate, take charge, and end all this injustice of the majority of teachers having to steal from their own families just to provide good education to other people’s children.”

TDC noted that on Sept. 15, the DepEd released a memorandum stating that the agency is preparing for the provision of connectivity and communications expenses for its employees.

“The memorandum, however, sets conditions on who among teachers could avail of the incentive,” Basas said.