The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), once again challenged the Aquino government to seriously consider the needs of the education sector to prove his sincerity to reform the public education system of the country. Dubbed as 10-Point Teachers’ Dignity Agenda, the group listed the major demands of the education sector which focused on providing adequate budget to address the needs of the sector from facilities and instructional materials to strategic programs and most importantly, proper compensation to teachers.
“The school opening reminds everyone that there is an existing and pressing problems in the education sector and these are actually perennial problems that even become worse over the years.” Said Benjo Basas, the group’s chairperson and a teacher in Caloocan City.
The group also criticized the measures taken by the Aquino government that according to them is hitting the wrong target, “If the president is determined to address the backlogs, he should not just be giving marching orders to DepEd officials to expand the education cycle, rather he should shift the finance policy of the government and give the greatest budgetary priority to education sector.” Basas continued.
The TDC is one with the DEPeD in pushing for the adoption of the universal pre-school system in Philippine public schools which they believe would drastically lower the drop-out rate in primary education and would prepare all the children, regardless of their socio-economic background to regular schooling. However, it describes the implementation this year as forced and unprepared implementation. “We should be hiring more specially-trained and properly compensated teachers to handle the pre-school program and we should build more classrooms to house some 1.93 million kindergarten learners this year.” Basas continued.
He revealed that the honorarium of teachers who will handle the kindergarten system would only range from P3000 to P6000 and that most of them are volunteer teachers.
The national government for this year created some 10, 000 teaching positions while the field needs more than 100, 000. Some 50, 000 teachers were provided by the local government units, which according to Basas, “mostly are hired in contractual basis and with less compensation compared to their nationally-paid counterparts.”
The group however, said they appreciate the efforts of DepEd Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro to secure the support of the LGUs and the private sector to build more classrooms for this school year. In recent months, the Secretary has entered in several memoranda of agreement with private companies and organizations and LGUs for the purpose.
Today, some 22 million students are expected to report to their respective schools nationwide.
“Despite everything, we anticipate a better school year for our children. And we hope that the president would keep his campaign promises. Teachers are among his bosses, we believe he will listen.” Basas ended. #
June 6, 2011
Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chair, 3853437/ 0920-5740241
10-Point Teachers’ Dignity Agenda
1. Immediate resolution to GSIS-related problems of public school teachers and government employees
— Press for legal action against former officials of the who are responsible for violating the spirit and letter of the GSIS Law
— Cancellation of unjust and anomalous GSIS policies
— Amendment of the GSIS Law to make it stronger and more responsive to the needs of its members
2. Provide adequate budget to address the growing shortages in public school system
— Implement the international benchmark spending of at least 6% of the GDP or 20% of the national budget;
— The budget must be enough to provide the needs for textbooks, facilities, equipments and other resources for teaching and learning
— Allocate sufficient funds for construction of school buildings and classrooms as determined by the official classroom to student ratio
3. Provide a just compensation to public school teachers
— Teachers’ status as manifested by their salary should be commensurate to their essential role in the society
— Upgrade the entry-level position of public school teachers from Salary Grade 11 to at least Salary Grade 14 under SSL-3
— Provide for a P6000 across the board increase in the salary of public school teachers and government employees.
4. Ensure free and universal access to education at all levels
— Provide for a free and universal pre-school system in public schools
— Strengthen the alternative learning system and adult education to ensure that every citizen regardless of age, gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity and religion would have access to education
— The government for more than four decades has been guilty of violating the provisions of this 1966 legislation for not implementing the welfare provisions of the RA 4670 such as free medical examination and hospitalization, compensation for injury, special hardship allowance, subsidized study leave, overtime pay, among others
6. Cancel payment for anomalous and illegitimate debts
— Initiate the official audit of all debts and subsequent cancellation of payment once proven illegitimate
— Budget for debt servicing should be given to social services especially public health and education
7. Enact Magna Carta for Private School teachers to protect the innate rights and ensure the welfare of the teachers in private schools
— The standard salaries of those who teach in private must be compared favorably with their counterpart in the government schools
— The basic right to collective bargaining, unionism and job security must be provided to the teachers in private educational institutions
8. Relief of teachers from hazardous non-teaching related assignments, i.e., compulsory election duties and census enumeration
— Non-teaching related assignments such as the poll duties and census enumeration must be optional
9. End contractualization of public school teachers and ensure that LGUs hiring them will provide adequate remuneration
— End the rampant contractualization of public school teachers (job order, LGU-paid, PTA-paid etc.)
— Create new teaching positions based on actual needs as determined by official teacher to student ratio
— Prioritize the assignment of incumbent locally-paid teachers to vacant or newly created permanent teaching positions from the national government
— Compel the LGUs to enforce the provision of Magna Carta which states that: “The salary scales of teachers whose salaries are appropriated by a city, municipal, municipal district, or provincial government, shall not be less than those provided for teachers of the National Government.”
10. Provide more benefits and incentives to teachers
— Implement the spirit of constitutional provision that says: “The state shall assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment.”
— Equalize the longevity pay of teachers and other government employees with their counterparts in the police and military
— Entitle the teachers to the same paid vacation, sick and privilege leave benefits granted by law to other government workers
— Ensure the teachers’ due representation and participation in policy-making bodies such as the DepEd, GSIS, Pag-ibig Fund and others
— Lowering of compulsory retirement age, housing program and tax reduction for teachers and scholarship program for their children
— Establish a fair and accessible merit and promotion system
- [Press Release] Teachers ride bike to welcome school opening – TDC (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [Press Release] Teachers support OPLAN BALIK-ESKWELA – Teachers Dignity Coalition (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [News release] TDC wants hazard pay for teachers in conflict areas- teachersdignity.com (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- [Press release] Teachers ask for relief amid price ursurge – TDC (hronlineph.wordpress.com)
- Schools open for 25.7 million Filipino students (mindoropost.com)
- [In the web] Teachers ask Malacanang to intervene in Agusan hostage crisis, demand for more security in schools- teachersdignity.com (hronlineph.wordpress.com)