As they take on yet their commitment to deliver education to the Filipino youth under the harshest circumstances this year, a federation of teachers on Monday slammed the government for “abandoning” the education system.
“The government has left teachers at the frontlines of education while the health and socioeconomic crises relentlessly rage on,” the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said.
ACT alleged that while the government “feigns respect and appreciation” for them this World Teachers’ Day (WTD), the teachers are already at the helm of the unprepared school opening—rushing the printing of unprovided parts of or entire subject modules; struggling to hold online classes using their faulty laptops and personal internet connection; reporting on-site without sufficient protection against COVID-19.
President Duterte, ACT said, “unabashedly bared his total lack of interest to fulfill the youth’s right to education” by saying that children should just play while “we wait for a vaccine” for COVID-19.
“While he eventually conceded to continue education amid the pandemic, his administration refused to allocate ample funds to ensure school safety and education accessibility and quality,” ACT said. “As such, teachers, school heads, and education support personnel shouldered the intense weight of preparing for school opening,” it added.
ACT added that teachers “have long learned that nothing good can be expected” from officials of the Department of Education (DepEd). “The agency conveniently passed on its responsibilities to local schools and teachers under the guise of ‘contextualization’ and bayanihan, while they evaded their own constitutionally mandated duties,” the group said.
The group added that the top DepEd executives “even had the audacity to claim readiness, cover up gaping holes in its inputs, and propagate lies meant to aggrandize what little they contributed to school opening preparations.”
Teachers from ACT Philippines held a protest and noise barrage at the gates of Mendiola in the Malacañang compound at daybreak to wake while Duterte’s government for endangering “education frontliners by sending us to war ill-equipped against the imminent threat of COVID-19.”
Members also conducted school and community visitations and protest action to monitor and report to the public actual situations during this school year’s official opening.
Teacher-leaders and unionists also distributed hygiene kits to reporting personnel as an effort to support those at the frontlines of the challenging education continuity amid the pandemic.
This afternoon, basic to tertiary level educators under ACT Philippines – from public and private schools – will troop outside the House of Representatives to call fight for “safe, accessible, and quality education” amid and beyond the pandemic.
ACT said that their demands have been falling on deaf ears. Hence, the 2020 World Teachers’ Day is dedicated to “sounding the alarms on the dismal state of education, especially amid the crises, and to holding accountable the Duterte regime for its gross neglect of education.”