A federation of teachers has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to take responsibility by addressing the problems of the education sector in calamity-stricken areas, especially those that are related to the distance learning set-up.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines chided DepEd for “neglecting” the needs of hundreds of students, teachers, non-teaching personnel and their families who are still reeling from the effects of the recent typhoons that battered the country.
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said it was “wrong to claim” that education is not affected by the typhoons as there are no face-to-face classes. “The government must recognize that the typhoons have gravely affected the means to deliver distance learning, including the teachers who keep the cogs and wheels of education running,” he added.
To address the concerns of the students and DepEd personnel who were affected by typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses,” ACT is urging the agency to come up with a set of guidelines for the adjustment of class schedules, conduct and work/study load in areas which sustained heavy, medium and moderate impacts from the calamities based on an objective assessment of the situation of the localities, which may take the form of class suspensions, suspension of online classes, reduced hours/days of work/study and others.
ACT is also asking DepEd to observe “leniency” on the work-related and study-related deadlines in consideration of the needs of teachers and learners to recuperate from the effects of the typhoons and limitations on available resources.
The group is calling for sufficient funding to replace damaged teaching and learning materials, resources and equipment for teachers and learners, to include the provision of laptops and internet allowance to teachers to enable them to perform their duties.
ACT said the DepEd should also ensure that the calamity leave for teachers and non-teaching personnel outside of their regular leave credits are paid. It also called on the DepEd to provide aid to teaching and non-teaching personnel directly affected by the calamities which should include shelter assistance to those whose houses have been totally damaged and financial assistance to all affected.
From Nov. 24 to 26, ACT held a three-day consultation and relief distribution operations in the 13 towns of Albay and Camarines Norte. The group met with teachers and school heads in the towns of Oas, Tabuco, Lagonoy, Sipocot, and Pili in Camarines Sur; and Tabaco and Jovellar in Albay.
Based on the feedback from the affected teachers, Basilio pointed out the “lack of clear directives” from the DepEd Central Office regarding the adjustments on the conduct of distance learning in calamity-stricken areas added to their burdens. “It pains our teachers to be abandoned in their most trying times,” he added.