DepEd urged to address concerns of learners, teachers before new school year opens in September

Published July 16, 2021, 1:52 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Teachers groups on Friday, July 16, welcomed the announcement of the Department of Education (DepEd) on the school opening in September but also urged the agency to address various concerns of students and teachers – especially those that are related to the implementation of distance learning.

Photo shows a teacher in Dr. Rafael Palma Elementary School in Manila sorting out the books and modules returned by parents after SY 2020-2021 ended. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Kung sa Setyembre 13, 2021 na ang pagbubukas ng klase para sa SY 2021-2022, marapat na matiyak ng DepEd na naihanda na nito ang mga pangangailangan para sa online at modular distance learning modalities (If the class opens on September 13, 2021 for SY 2021-2022, DepEd should ensure that it has prepared the requirements for online and modular distance learning modalities),” the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said.

TDC pointed out that if the challenges in the distance learning set-up will remain unaddressed just like in the last school year, the teachers will be the ones who will bear the brunt and will be forced fill in all the gaps in the system.

“Huwag naman sanang isakripisyong muli ang kapakanan ng mga guro at ang kalidad ng edukasyon. Matuto na tayo sa aral ng nakaraang taon (Please do not sacrifice the welfare of teachers and the quality of education again. Let’s learn from last year’s lesson),” TDC said.


Opening of school year 2021-2022 for public schools set on Sept. 13 – DepEd

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, in a separate statement, raised the same concerns.

In particular, ACT pointed out but the continuous work load of teachers even amid the school break.

The group complained that the school break schedule is “not being truly implemented” as local DepEd offices released work calendars that detailed numerous deadlines and activities for teachers up to end August, while teacher’s overtime in the recently-closed school year remained uncompensated.

“Matapos ang 13 buwan ng diretsong trabaho, inaagaw pa ng gobyerno ang maikling bakasyon ng mga guro. Pagpahingahin n’yo naman ang mga guro! (After 13 months of continuous work, the government is still taking away the short vacation of teachers. Give the teachers a break!),” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

ACT noted that there are several local DepEd issuances that were “requiring” teachers to render service up to as far as the end of August to accomplish tasks for teachers’ learning delivery modules (LDM), reading of forms, portfolio for performance evaluation (RPMS-PPST), and preparations for the next school year, among others.

“Some of these tasks, like the LDMs and portfolios for RPMS have been rejected by teachers as their relevance are questionable, especially under the pandemic situation,” Basilio said. “Others, while they are regular duties, have schedules that are too packed and leave no room for quality rest,” he added.

Basilio argued that this extended work becomes “more burdensome to teachers, especially that the DepEd is yet to compensate three months of overtime work which they have rendered in the recently concluded school year.”

Given this, Basilio called for the urgent release of the DepEd memorandum that will grant service credits to teachers for their overtime days, and the agency’s update on its request to the budget agency for the payment of 25 percent overtime pay for teachers, as agreed in the group’s dialogue with the DepEd and the Civil Service Commission last June 24, 2021.

ACT furthered that it is the Duterte government “who needs to work double time to plan and prepare” the needs of the coming school year.

From the lessons of the past school year, Basilio said that the government must “ensure the ample budgetary allocation for education, procure early the needed teaching and learning materials, and distribute them” before the next school year opens.

ACT is also pushing for the prompt preparations for limited face-to-face classes “wherever it can be possibly implemented.”