More than flowers and praises, teachers on Tuesday, Oct. 5, said that they “deserve dignity.”
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) called on the government, particularly the Department of Education (DepEd), to pay closer attention to the real plight of teachers and find ways to help them overcome the challenges, especially those brought by the pandemic.
“It’s World Teachers’ Day once again and the DepEd, as always, will continue pretending to celebrate the value of their front liners,” TDC said.
The group noted that this school year, which started on Sept. 13, is the second chapter of Philippine education under the pandemic. While DepEd declared a “successful” school opening, TDC said that concerns and issues in the last school year – especially those that involve teachers – remain unresolved.
“It appears that the department is bent on making sure that teachers remain heroes by whatever means necessary, be it by commission or by omission,” TDC said.
The DepEd leadership, it alleged, “never cared to spare some minutes for a dialogue with the teachers’ groups – despite consistent requests.”
TDC lamented that just like in the previous years, businesses will offer discounts – in bakeries, in department stores, in motels, even in funeral parlors – which is a “trickle down treat for our teachers from those who made big earnings during the crisis.”
“Adding insult to injury, we–once again–hear politicians declaring the usual must-be-dones for teachers, better salaries, more benefits, you name it,” TDC said. “But no worries, this phenomenon is expected to die down around three days before national elections,” it added.
TDC lamented that for the longest time, “teachers don’t only have a voice on matters of education, they are ethically bound as mandated in the Code of Ethics for Teachers” such as hiring and promotion, career development, curriculum, instructional delivery, learning materials, class sizes — among others.
The group pointed out that Magna Carta for Public School Teachers which is a half-a-century old document “crafted by our best Filipino minds to protect our teachers from exploitation and neglect and to further guarantee their well-being, yet administrations and the DepEd have been treating it like it isn’t worth the paper it is written on.”
TDC said that more than ever, there is a need to implement the welfare provisions of Magna Carta for Public School Teachers related to health benefits, overtime pay and special hardship allowance, among others.
Thus, the group is pushing for the protection of teachers and learners from the dreaded virus and the provision of financial and institutional support to teachers who fall ill due to COVID19.
TDC is also asking the government and DepEd to “unburden teachers from the insane workload that inexplicably quadrupled during the pandemic” and to “optimize harnessing of technology to best deliver instruction, and cover many other communications needs for teachers to perform their duties, such as laptop computers.”
Furthermore, the group is pushing for a “realistic amount” of at least P1, 500 for internet allowances for teachers to cope with the demands of distance learning. TDC is also urging the government to uphold and respect the teachers’ right to freedom of association.
“Today, while teachers will appreciate festivities, songs, dances, praises, balloons and flowers, we call on the DepEd and the entire government to provide us what we deserve — rights, welfare and dignity,” TDC added.