School year extension will be a ‘grave injustice’ to teachers – ACT

Published February 19, 2021, 1:55 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

For a federation of teachers, extending the current school year further will be a “grave labor injustice” to those who are already struggling to adjust to the new system under the distance learning set-up.

(Photo by Jansen Romero / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines said that teachers are already stressed and burned out as it is. The plan to extend the school year, the group added, will be more burdensome for “teachers who will be working for 13 straight months without even the benefit of vacation or sick leave, compared to their pre-pandemic schedule of 10 working months before two summer vacation months.”

ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said the workload of teachers grew even heavier under the distance learning. “Teachers were tasked to print and collate modules and deliver them up to the students’ homes,” he said.

Basilio added that the 8-hour work rule was “heavily disregarded” as teachers have to make themselves available for students’ and parents’ queries outside class hours.

“Teachers also said that the DepEd Central Office has not given them sufficient training and guidance on how relevant and worthwhile learning can happen under distance learning,” Basilio said.

On top of these, Basilio said that more reports and paper works were required by the Department of Education (DepEd) from teachers under distance learning.

“Our teachers are being treated as tireless workhorses by the DepEd while they themselves also experience the stresses brought about by the pandemic and the economic crisis to their families,” he lamented.

Early this week, DepEd said it was eyeing to extend the school year to give students more time to complete their academic requirements.

For ACT, DepEd’s plan to extend the school year is not the solution to the learning crisis and it will only make the burden heavier for teachers. “We have been asking DepEd to come up with a comprehensive plan to address problems in distance learning and we are hoping that the government will do something about it,” Basilio said.

For ACT, the government should provide sufficient funding and support to education. DepEd, on the other hand, should adjust the whole distance learning content and design to “suit the situation of the population under quarantine.”