The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) will stage a bike ride and a festive motorcade in Quezon City this morning. Inspired by Pres. Aquino’s bike ride along with his cabinet members several weeks ago, some 300 teachers from Metro Manila and Rizal will participate in this activity to symbolize the physical readiness of teachers for the opening of school year tomorrow. This also aims to challenge the Aquino government to act swiftly on education issues and resolve the perennial problems of education sector.
“Despite the government’s lack of support to public education system, we teachers are always enthusiastic about school opening.” Said Benjo Basas, the group’s chairperson and a teacher from Baesa High School in Caloocan City.
Last week, the group also called on all its members to actively participate in the Brigada Eskwela by mobilizing the people and organizations in their respective school communities and also expressed support for the multi-sectoral initiative Oplan Balik Eskwela (OBE).
“While we are critical in some of the government’s education policies, especially in its budget, we would never deprive the Filipino youth of their fundamental rights to free education.” Basas added. “As educators, we are in full support to the effort of the Department of Education (DepEd) in achieving the EFA (Education for All) goals.” He continued.
The group challenged the Aquino administration to seriously consider the resource shortages in public education system before the implementation programs like the 12-year basic education cycle.
“Based on the president’s legislative agenda, the only education proposal he considered urgent is the expansion of our basic education system from 10 to 12 years. This was also mentioned in his first SONA.
However, even this particular proposal was not considered in the budget for 2011.” Basas lamented.
The group criticized the government for its failure to allot funding for the universal kindergarten program, which they said is badly needed to improve the quality of education.
“Kindergarten system which is an essential part of the K+12 program will be implemented starting June of this year, but without sufficient budget. This is ironic, a flagship program which was never considered in government funding.” He explained.
The TDC also called for a better compensation package for public school teachers.
“We anticipate a good leadership from P-Noy, thus we ask him to seriously consider teachers’ compensation- both monetary and non-monetary. The salary must be at par with the rest of the world- where teaching is regarded as the most important job and the noblest of all professions. Aside from this, teachers must also be given non-wage incentives like medical care, decent housing, education for their children and tax incentives.” Basas explained. “If the government wants to resolve the problems of the society, fixing education system would be a good start” He ended.
The activity today will be participated by several riders’ club of teachers including the Freedom Riders composed of teachers from Northern Caloocan City and the Division of Valenzuela Riders’ Club, its counterpart in Valenzuela City. The group will assemble at 7:00AM in UP Oblation monument then will push to Quezon Memorial Circle and will stage a cultural program in the Peace Bell Area.
The same festive activity will also be staged in Bataan, Pampanga, Lucena, Cavite, Laguna and Sorsogon.
Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chairperson, 0920-5740241/ 3853437
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