Gov’t urged to uplift well-being of teachers

Published October 5, 2020, 6:57 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

In celebration of the 2020 World Teachers’ Day (WTD), a group on Monday urged the government to give due recognition of the teachers’ plight and sacrifices in the face of the pandemic.

E-Net Philippines, a network of 130 organizations and partners, joined teachers and advocates of quality education in this year’s celebration of WTD – which is also the culmination of the National Teachers’ Month (NTM) of the Department of Education.

The group said that the teachers’ role is “crucial” in reinventing the future of learning and meeting the global education targets – more so in this time of health crisis. “Teachers have to change abruptly from face-to-face to remote learning,” E-Net said. “They have to learn new pedagogies, adapt to technology and other modalities of teaching,” it added.

“The current pandemic highlights the need for the government to address the problems and needs of teachers,” E-Net said. Aside from the teachers, the issue of connectivity, availability of learning resources, online safety, and mental health also students and non-teaching personnel as well.  

E-Net noted that teachers have been facing various challenges even before the pandemic outbreak. “The status of the teaching profession has been in decline because of the low pay that deters the entry of young professionals and the apprehension that technology – like artificial intelligence and automation – will eventually replace teachers,” the group said.

“They have to deal with the pressing problems of money, technology and security,” it added.

Amid these challenges, the group noted that teachers remain at the forefront of providing the educational need of the people – from preparing for school opening, undergoing training and conducting simulations, to reimagining how to mitigate the learning gaps in the most essential learning competencies. 

“They also reach out to support the marginalized, disadvantaged and vulnerable learners, especially in remote areas,” it added.

Believing that the creation of a strong enabling learning environment by the government is crucial in supporting the critical roles teachers play in the COVID-19 response and recovery, E-Net Philippines is calling on the government to “reduce their workload” by hiring teaching assistants – if needed – to do the paper works.

They also urged the government to allocate a budget for hygiene, hardship pay and hazard pay; provide for internet connection, gadgets, and power allowances for online teaching; and give work or financial assistance to teachers rendered jobless due to COVID-19 lockdown and closure of schools.