Even if the Department of Education (DepEd) rejected calls to move the school opening date to a later date, teachers assured that they “they will not miss on their responsibilities to the schoolchildren” once classes for School Year (SY) 2022-2023 start next week.
In a statement issued Monday, Aug. 15, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that its members are “still waiting for the final response” from the Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte concerning its appeal to extend the school break.
TDC has requested an extension of the vacation period to “provide a breathing space for the teachers to prepare physically, emotionally and mentally for another school year.”
“The sacrifices of the teachers have been too much and the two month-vacation that they used to enjoy has not been considered,” the group said.
TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas said that while teachers are supposedly on a vacation, the group is receiving reports that they are being “required to report sa school” a week before the school opening date set on Aug. 22.
Basas pointed out that the official tasks of teachers for SY 2021-2022 supposedly ended in mid-July but they were directed to hold enrichment and remedial classes.
Teachers are also facilitating the ongoing enrollment in public schools which started on July 25. They are also expected to lead “Brigada Eskwela” and attend the In-Service Training (INSET) program this week.
“Wala talagang naging pahinga ang mga guro natin (Our teachers never really had a break),” Basas, who is also a teacher in Caloocan City, lamented.
On Aug. 2, Basas said that the TDC had the opportunity to discuss their request for an extension of the school break with Duterte in a virtual meeting.
Duterte already noted that moving the school opening was “no longer possible” because the schedule has already been approved by the President and all the preparations are already focused on the Aug. 22 opening.
The DepEd legal team, as directed by the DepEd Chief, was supposed to “study the basis of a two-month school break or summer vacation” claimed by TDC citing rules from the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
But then on Aug. 3, Basas said that the DepEd Legal Service released an opinion not in favor of the teachers’ claim of a two-month school break and against their request to move the opening of the school year to a later date.
On the issue of the opening of classes, TDC pointed out that as per Republic Act 11480, classes for each school year shall start on the first Monday of June but not later than the last day of August.
“The same law provides that in the event of the declaration of a state of emergency or state of calamity, the President upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Education may set a different date for the start of the school year,” TDC noted.
The group said that it will continue to “wait for the final response” from the DepEd until this day but assured the public that they will not miss on their responsibilities to the schoolchildren if the “DepEd will finally turn down their request.”
“Kung talagang magbubukas na ang klase sa August 22, nakahanda po ang ating mga guro (If classes really open on Aug. 22, our teachers are ready),” Basas said.
“Matagal na rin naman naming gustong bumalik ang face-to-face classes, gayunman, dapat pa ring maiklaro ang usapin ng bakasyon at PVP [proportional vacation pay] at ang obligasyon ng DepEd sa ating mga guro (We have long wanted face-to-face classes to return, however, the issue of vacation and PVP and DepEd’s obligation to our teachers must still be clarified),” he added.