Education workers and teachers delivered their 10-point challenge to the new administration days before Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. took his oath as President and incoming Vice President-elect Sara Duterte assumed the post of Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary.
“Now that the Philippine education system is embroiled in an unprecedented crisis, game-changing measures are urgently needed to overturn the decline of education quality and to sufficiently capacitate the education system to perform its role in nation-building,” said the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines Secretary General Raymond Basilio on Sunday, June 26.
Teachers and education workers from all over the country gathered in Quezon City for the 16th National Congress of ACT Philippines to present their demands to the incoming administration.
To address the challenges that confront the country’s education system, the group pushed for the implementation of various measures.
These include doubling the education budget to fulfill the United Nation’s standard of allocating an education budget equivalent to six percent of the country’s gross domestic product and fulfilling the requirements for the safe conduct of face-to-face classes in 100 percent of schools nationwide by hiring a sufficient number of teachers to effectively cut down class size and building the necessary facilities and install sufficient health measures.
ACT is also pushing for the conduct of student assessments nationwide to “determine the nature and extent of the learning crisis” as well as design and implement an evidence-based education recovery program and the provision of sufficient and quality teaching and learning resources such as gadgets, textbooks, modules, internet allowance, among others.
The group is also pushing for the review of the K to 12 program which will reinstate Philippine History in the high school curriculum and restore Filipino and Philippine Literature in the tertiary curriculum.
The incoming administration was also urged to upgrade the salary level of teachers and education support personnel: Salary Grade 15 for Teacher I; Salary Grade 16 for Instructor I; and P16,000 monthly salary for Salary Grade I employees and to hire a sufficient number of education support personnel to unload teachers of burdensome administrative duties and enable them to focus on instruction.
ACT said that the Marcos administration must also focus on improving the benefits of education workers and enact the Magna Carta for Private School Teachers.
Moreover, the group is also calling on the Marcos admin to ensure the enjoyment of academic freedom of all teachers and institutions, and full union rights of education workers.
“We hope that the incoming VP and education secretary would study and implement these measures to address the many issues confronting the education sector and we are open to discussing these with her,” Basilio said.
To deliver their demands, the group will be joining the peaceful assembly of various sectors on June 30, during the inauguration of the new administration.