While the school year (SY) 2020-2021 officially ended on July 10, a group alleged that “work continues” for teachers even when their students have started enjoying their school break.
On July 16, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced that the School Year (SY) 2021-2022 will open on Sept. 13.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines welcomed this – noting that it matched its earlier proposal to open the next school year no earlier than Sept. 13 to “enable teachers to enjoy their mandated 80 days of school break” – including the Christmas vacation.
However, the group complained that the school break schedule is not “being truly implemented.”
This, after local DepEd offices released work calendars that detailed numerous deadlines and activities for teachers up to the end of August.
The group shared 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.
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said some of these tasks – like the LDMs and portfolios for RPMS – have been rejected by teachers as their relevance are questionable, especially under the current pandemic situation.
“Others, while they are regular duties, have schedules that are too packed and leave no room for quality rest,” Basilio said.
Basilio also noted that this “extended work” becomes more burdensome to teachers, especially that the “DepEd is yet to compensate for three months of overtime work which they have rendered in the recently concluded school year.”
Over two months-worth of overtime ‘unpaid’
The group also lamented that there is still “no word” on the overtime pay for teachers even as school already closed last week.
“Time is of the essence when it comes to salary and benefits, especially now that we are in the middle of a pandemic,” Basilio said.
He noted that the last school year forced teachers to render over two months-worth of overtime. “We still haven’t gotten our OT pay and the promised service credits; nor have they released the guidelines for these,” Basilio said.
In June, DepEd and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) met with ACT to pay for the 25 percent overtime premium of public school teachers. Basilio said that teachers’ demand for service credits and 25 percent overtime pay is provided by law, per section 9 of CSCS memorandum circular No. 41 s. 1998 and the Labor Code of the Philippines.
“Our public school teachers are tired and penniless, all for the sake of education continuity,” Basilio said. “Why is it that when it comes to teachers’ salaries and benefits, the government is always complacent?” he added.
In the middle of a health and economic crisis, Basilio noted that the need for “ample compensation” becomes more urgent by the day. He added that the issuance of the guidelines for the grant of service credits should be made with a sense of urgency.
While the school year may have officially ended, ACT said that its demand for a “fair and sufficient compensation is not yet over.”