The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) is bringing the teachers’ clamor for higher education budget to the plenary of the House of Representatives on September 16, the date when the lawmakers deliberate the proposed 2012.
“For the longest time, the legislators and the past presidents were all aware that the allocation for education sector is inadequate, yet there was no drastic or at least considerable move to resolve the perennial problem of shortages of classrooms and other facilities and the very minimal compensation to our teachers.” Said Benjo Basas, a teacher from Caloocan City and the group’s chairperson.
Basas said they had a dialogue with Secretary Armin Luistro last week where they argued the need for higher allocation to hire more teachers and build more classrooms instead of giving the funds for PPP (Public Private Partnership) scheme like the GASTPE or the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers of Private Education. However, he said that the DepEd defended its budget proposal and said it will secure the GASTPE budget amounting to 6.3 billion for 2012.
“The single most important thing to be considered for 2012 in line with the government’s program is the kindergarten system. It is very ironic that while the Aquino administration considers this K-12 program as a flagship for the education sector, it only provides very minimal amount of 1.9 billion for pre-school education. How can we hire competent kinder teachers and where will we get funds to build kinder classrooms to at least 1 group of pre-schoolers per elementary school? That is around 38, 000 kinder class.” Basas explained.
The group also hit the government for providing too much for GASTPE program while giving little concern for other necessities especially those for the welfare of teachers; hiring more teachers, providing benefits and other incentives including the teaching aid or chalk allowance.
“The government allocated 6.3 billion for GASTPE while it only set aside 2.9 billion for hiring of 13, 000 teachers. If we slash even half of it, we could hire another 13, 000 teachers and that would mean a drastic 26, 000 response to a shortage of 99, 000 teachers for this school year. The figure increases annually.” Basas furthered.
He said that some of the benefits are actually provided by the existing laws like the medical examination and hospitalization for teachers which under the 1966 Magna Carta shall be given free to teachers.
“For these reasons, we are bringing the issue of budget to the plenary. We will mobilize teachers on September 16 when the lawmakers open the debates in the plenary.”
Tomorrow, September 12, teacher-leaders from NCR, Central Luzon and CALABARZON will have a forum at the Conference Hall of DepEd NCR in Quezon City to discuss and analyze the budget and plan for September 16 mobilization. #
Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chair 0920-5740241/ 3853437
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