Teachers were reminded by President Duterte to “remain dedicated” to their sworn profession as a new school year opens on Monday, Sept. 13.
“To our dear teachers, I hope that you remain dedicated to your sworn profession and lead more of our young citizens towards a better and brighter future,” Duterte said in a recorded message he delivered during the virtual National School Opening Day program of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Amidst the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, DepEd has opened the School Year (SY) 2021-2022 under a blended/distance learning set-up since the conduct of face-to-face classes is still prohibited by the President himself.
Meanwhile, Duterte greeted the parents, learners and teachers on the first day of classes. He also commended DepEd for its efforts to ensure that education will continue even amid the pandemic.
“This event shows the DepEd’s strong commitment to provide the best quality of education for our students despite the challenges of the global pandemic,” Duterte said.
Teachers’ welfare ‘must not be ignored’
As the President reminds teachers to remain dedicated to their profession, a group of teachers also reminded the government - through the DepEd - not to “ignore” their welfare.
“As another school year opens today, we reiterate our call to the government, particularly the Department of Education (DepEd) to address the concerns of our teachers as we fear that the upcoming school year might be just a repeat of the previous one,” Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) National Vice Chairperson Olivia De Guzman said.
TDC noted that a year and a half after the imposition of various lockdowns, many students and their families still cannot keep up with the online requirement of distance learning, especially those that have lost their livelihood due to the crisis brought about by the pandemic.
“While the learning modality in most of public schools is modular, our teachers still need to guide the children and their parents in the daily lessons, thus they need to communicate using a mobile phone and internet connection,” De Guzman said.
De Guzman said that with the country placed in different quarantine categories with movement restrictions, teachers cannot visit the learners in their homes. “If the family is struggling with livelihood, they will certainly prioritize food instead of telephone or internet,” she added.
While believing that the system is “not prepared” for the opening of classes, TDC said that teachers will comply with the requirements of DepEd on school opening.
However, the group appealed to the DepEd leadership to call for a “genuine consultation” with all stakeholders, including but not limited to, the teachers sector.
“We likewise propose the conduct of an honest assessment of the previous school year, which, although dismal, will provide us with valuable insights for a comeback success in the coming academic year,” De Guzman said.
“It is highly unjust and unfair that the teachers will have no choice but to bear the brunt of an unprepared system that is thrust upon them by the DepEd,” she added.