With the “glaring” shortages in basic education resources, teachers’ groups cannot help but express their disappointment over the pronouncement of the Department of Education (DepEd) that it is “all systems go” for school opening next week.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), in a statement issued Friday, Aug. 19, said that DepEd’s statement that “everything is well with the school opening is an outright dismissal of the numerous problems our teachers are raising from the ground.”
In a separate statement, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) also hit DepEd for such a remark. “We beg to disagree,” TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas said.
Basas noted that TDC has been receiving “consistent reports” from the field coming from teachers that there are shortages in “classrooms, chairs and learning materials.”
In a joint press conference with the Office of the Vice President (OVP), DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa said that it is “all systems go” for the opening of classes for School Year (SY) 2022-2023 scheduled on Aug. 22.
ACT said that teachers nationwide are waiting for an “answer and a solution” from DepEd since schools across the country still do not have classrooms, chairs, and books for their students.
The group also noted that many schools still unable to implement 100 percent face-to-face classes is “proof” that there are still many gaps that are not filled and problems that are not resolved.
“The least DepEd can do is to be honest about the situation and own up to the deficiencies,” ACT said.
The group also lamented that when the DepEd declared that “everything is fine” but there are still many shortages in resources when schools open, the teachers will be the ones to take the blame.
TDC also shared the same concerns, taking note of the lack of teaching and non-teaching staff and the deployment of health workers.
“Sa tanong kung handa na ba sa pagbubukas ng klase sa Lunes, nakahanda po ang mga guro natin sa kabila ng reservations, pero gaya ng mga nakalipas ang ating system ang hindi handa at anumang pagkukulang ay pupunuan muli ng ating mga guro (On the question of whether they are ready for the opening of classes on Monday, our teachers are ready despite the reservations, but as in the past, our system is not ready and any deficiency will be filled again by our teachers),” Basas said.
Teachers, he added, are once again expected to make sacrifices such as contributing financially and rendering service beyond what is expected. “Sakripisyo talaga, considering na wala ring ibinigay na pahinga sa amin (It's really a sacrifice, considering that we weren't even given a break),” he added.
Given this, both groups urged DepEd once again to lay out its overall plan in addressing the gaps before it fully implements the resumption of 100 percent face-to-face classes starting in November.