Group lauds DepEd NCR for clear policy on work-from-home set-up

Published October 21, 2020, 10:29 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A teachers’ group on Wednesday cited the efforts of the Department of Education (DepEd)-National Capital Region (NCR) for issuing clear-cut instructions regarding the alternative work arrangement in the agency.

While the issue of work arrangement during the pandemic has been a contested matter in most parts of the country, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that the recent directive from the DepEd-NCR Regional Office – which is in accordance with the “letters and spirit” of the DepEd Order No. 11, 2020 was commendable.

In a memorandum released by DepEd-NCR Director Malcolm Garma last week, TDC said that it was reiterated that teachers are generally “in work from home arrangement except those authorized by the regional director.”

The memorandum added that teachers “may physically report to school voluntarily and on a limited basis only” to accomplish several tasks that cannot be done remotely. 

The NCR memorandum further said that a maximum of 30 percent  of the total workforce- teaching and non-teaching may be asked to report to school to help in the distribution of gadgets and for the retrieval and replenishment of modules “but not in printing, sorting and packing of modules and learner packets.”

“We appreciate this initiative from the DepEd-NCR regional director, a proof that he not only abides by the orders of the higher ups, but more importantly, he empathizes with the teachers and cares for their welfare,” said TDC-NCR Teachers’ Union (TDC-NCRTU) president Ildefonso Enguerra III.

TDC-NCRTU is the group’s regional chapter in Metro Manila. Enguerra, who is also a teacher in Manila, said they have received reports even from the NCR that teachers were required to report physically to their schools to accomplish tasks like printing and sorting of learning modules.

“We reject it for these tasks are not in our job description as teachers, except if teachers would want to do it voluntarily,” Enguerra said.

“Since there is a national policy and the DepEd in several occasions had expressed that the modules are already prepared prior to the opening of classes, there is no need for our overburdened teachers to further work physically for these modules,” he added.

Meanwhile, TDC Secretary-General Emmalyn Policarpio said that the DepEd Order 11, s. 2020 should be implemented with uniformity. 

“If the DepEd-NCR director can follow the order, why others cannot?” she asked.

While TDC recognizes that there are circumstances that would necessitate physical reporting, Policarpio said that this “should not be done on a daily basis and shall not involve all the teachers.”

Policarpio, a teacher in Valenzuela City and also the Vice President of TDC-NCRTU cited a memorandum obtained from the official website of DepEd Cebu Province directing “all teachers, school-based non-teaching personnel, school heads and PSDSs to report daily in their respective stations starting Monday, October 19, 2020 except those with health co-morbidities.”

Given these contradictions, Policarpio said that the DepEd Central Office “must step in and make things clear” to avoid comparison as well as confusion in the field among teachers. 

“We are in one department, yet we have so many contradicting policies from one place to another,” she ended.