For a group of teachers, the next head of the Department of Education (DepEd) should come from the education sector.
While the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) recognizes that Cabinet appointments as a prerogative of the Chief Executive, the “general sentiment” of teachers is to have a Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary “from our ranks, preferably a classroom teacher or someone who has previous experience as part of the education sector.”
TDC issued the statement following the pronouncement of presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to appoint presumptive vice president Sarah Duterte as the next DepEd secretary.
“We want to share with her the concrete experiences and problems faced by our educators, instead of merely waiting for the presentation of her plans for the DepEd, which may come from the ‘outside looking in’, to say the least,” TDC said.
The group is also looking forward to the opportunity to present its 13-point teachers’ Dignity Agenda.
TDC said that the agenda needs both executive and legislative actions and focuses not only on the rights and welfare of teachers but on learners and the school system as well.
It includes a better compensation package, implementation of the 1966 vintage Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, compensation for those affected by Covid-19, free postgraduate education, provision of free laptop computers and internet services, and the creation of a separate insurance system and hospital for teachers, among other “long overdue benefits.”
The said agenda, TDC said, also includes programs on learning itself, such as reduction of class size, provision of books and other materials and facilities, and adequate funding for the safe return to normal school operation.
Moreover, the agenda pushes for a curriculum that strengthens national development and not just caters to the needs of the foreign labor market, but one that includes a sense of patriotism and promotes peace and human rights, a curriculum that will produce Filipinos who are proud of their history and culture.
“We hope that the incoming administration will not ignore our call to uphold the dignity of the teaching profession,” TDC said.