TDC said DEPED is defensive, evasive in its statements in response to teachers’ seven demands
While seemingly ignoring the protesting teachers who are now on its second week of camp-out at the gates of DepEd Central Office I Pasig City, the DepEd has continuously releasing statements since September 23, a day before the start of the picket protest. The TDC however said that the statements are elusive and defensive and sometimes.
On September 24 alone, the DepED released at least five statements referring to five of the seven demands identified by the TDC explaining its policies on the matter but obviously avoiding a clear response on the concerns raised on each of those issues. Out of five statements on the demands for 1.) Immediate suspension of RPMS; 2.) Halt the implementation of DepEd Order No. 42 (Daily Lesson Log/ Detailed Lesson Plan); 3.) Stop all the on-going class observations; 4.) Prohibition of Saturday classes and required meetings; and 5.) Fully implement the six-hour workday nationwide, only the last item was responded substantially. The DepEd said it will release another memorandum to implement the Six-Hour Workday with two specific instructions:
Teachers who choose to render the remaining two hours of work outside the school premises must not be subjected to salary deductions
Teachers should not be required to submit means of verification (MOVs) as proof of services completed during the remaining two hours of work rendered outside the school premises.
The DepEd statements on the first four demands were all poor justifications and made to look that the teachers are only demanding the reduction of works out of indolence and incompetence. They did not even discuss the points raised by the TDC and the fact that we only asked for a one month suspension of the RPMS and other policies related to this and call for a widest consultation possible.
On September 28, the DepEd again released two other statements covering the last two demands of teachers: 6.) Hiring of non-teaching personnel that will accomplish clerical tasks; and 7.) Provision of leave benefits and medical assistance for teachers. On these last two responses, DepEd ensures that it will hire non-teaching personnel to help teachers on the clerical tasks. However, it again avoided to comment or discuss the non-implementation of health benefits under Magna Carta and expensively discussed and justified that there are leave benefits for teachers in the form of service credits, which is far from reality.
Also on September 25, the DepEd released a statement bragging its high approval rating despite attacks. “The continued approval, trust, and support of educators and stakeholders across varying sectors in the country reflect the more significant millions that actually help the Department perform its mandates and achieve its goals – considerably disproportionate to the handful objectors from the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) staging a two-week picket at the Central Office.” The statement said. It further claimed that “to advance certain interests, it has become convenient for certain groups to conclude and insist that workload and clerical tasks are the root cause of conditions as complex as depression and as sensitive as suicide. It is disappointing that to gather support, certain groups must impose on the grief of families. It is disturbing that the path to reforms should be paved with acts of dishonesty and efforts to disinform by the very groups asserting to protect the dignity and promote the welfare of teachers.”
While the last portion of the statement insinuates that it pertains to TDC, it did not mention the name of the group. The TDC however reminded DepEd to keep on track and make their statements substantial.
“We would appreciate the responses coming from DepEd, even if those were not favoring our claims so long as they are within the context of our protest and not intended to malign the protesters. We ask the DepEd leadership to keep the discussion on the legitimate issues.” Benjo Basas, TDC national chairperson said.
Basas said that the TDC never made the matter personal and did not shift to attacks on any personality while remain critical to the policies and actions of the DepEd particularly in their seven demands.
“We never call for the resignation of the secretary, we did not curse her or call her names, we believe that engaging her would be a better option and will yield good results. And to clarify, we never asked the DepEd to entirely prohibit lesson planning, class observations and performance assessment tool, for we also recognize that these are incidental to our teaching duties. What we ask for is only a suspension of work policies perceived by teachers as excessive and burdensome, even for a month. It will give our teachers a breathing space and the DepEd management an opportunity to call for a genuine consultation with the presence of classroom teachers. It will probably help to improve the implementation of these policies. But we are firm in the belief that in any policy reform or intervention, the rights, welfare and dignity of the teachers should be put in paramount consideration.” Basas ended.
The TDC will continue its protest until October 5, Friday with several activities the whole day and a solidarity dinner at 6:30PM where they will assess the two-week protest and announce its closing.
October 1, 2018
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF TEACHERS’ SEVEN DEMANDS:
The seven demands, which the TDC said, are practical, doable and within the power and authority of the Secretary are as follows:
Immediately suspend the implementation of RPMS (results-based performance management system) and call for the widest consultation possible;
“Ipinatutupad na ang RPMS kahit pa marami sa mga mismong nag-roll out nito ay hindi kumbinsido o ayaw sa programang ito.”
RPMS is the performance rating system required by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) since 2012. While it is based on CSC memorandum, the implementation varies from agency to agency. In DepEd, the system requires to submit documentations of practically everything a teacher does. It is a rigid and document-based performance system that causes stress and anxiety and steals the time of teachers for teaching.
Put a halt on the implementation of DepEd Order No. 42 or the use of Daily Lesson Log (DLL) and Detailed Lesson Plan (DLP) and revert to simplified lesson preparations;
“Walang kuwenta ang maganda at detalyadong lesson plan, ang pagtuturo ang mas mahalagang pagtuunan!”
This is just a reiteration of TDC’s 2016 appeal to the DepEd. During a meeting on July 2016, some DepEd officials said that there will be review on lesson plan guidelines. Sec. Liling Briones herself declared in a meeting in November 2017 that they are reviewing the policy. For the teachers, lesson preparation should be simplified to serve as guide for their teaching and not to serve as another burden. The more important part of teaching is how to convey the learning to their students.
Stop all the on-going class observations and leave the teachers in their usual teaching tasks;
“Kung oobserbahan tayo sa klase, nawawala ang pokus natin sa pagtuturo dahil nagiging conscious tayo na i-please ang observer, maliban pa sa dagdag ito sa trabaho ng master teachers.”
While recognizing class observations as tool for assessment, the TDC denounces the on-going class observations in DepEd system that results to stress and anxiety of teachers. According to the RPMS, each teacher should undergo at least four class observations for a year. Though it varies in some areas, still an indication that there are things in the RPMS that needed to be clarified, thus, a consultation is indeed a necessity.
Prohibit Saturday classes and required meetings;
“Hindi kasalanan ng bata at guro kung ang class suspension, huwag tayong parusahan!”
The DepEd in its earlier statements as well as in its policies said that it does not impose Saturday classes even if there were class suspensions due to inclement weather. Make-up up classes may only be justified when the 187-non-negotiable teaching days have been compromised. Also, the DepEd has recently ordered that meeting with the parents or other schools activities involving teachers should be done on Saturdays, a clear irony because the same agency orders its teachers not to give homework to students during weekends. Weekends are reserved for the teachers’ family or for self-development and usually consume for relaxation, studies or household chores.
Fully implement the six-hour workday nationwide with uniformity based on existing rules;
“Isang CSC Resolution, isang DepEd Order at isang DepEd Memorandum ang nagsasabing hindi puwedeng puwersahing magturo o mag-stay ng lampas sa anim na oras ang sinumang guro, bakit sa NCR lang ito naipatutupad? Mas makapangyarihan pa ba ang ilang SDS at school heads kaysa Central Office?”
As early as 2008, the CSC in a resolution has ordered the DepEd to release guidelines on the “Six-Hour Workday” or the requirement to stay in their school for only six hours, the two hours intended to accomplish other tasks incidental to normal teacing duties may be brought home or anywhere the teacher wants. However, the DepEd failed to implement the resolution despite the two subsequent issuances from Secretary Lapus in 2008 and 2009, DepEd Memorandum 291 and DeEd Order 16, respectively. Until now, many teachers are forced to stay in their respective school for 8 hours or more, even without classes or official functions.
Hire non-teaching personnel that will accomplish clerical tasks;
“Magturo ang trabaho ng guro, hindi ang gumawa ng reports at kung anu-anong forms.”
Teachers should be spared of clerical and other non-teaching tasks to be able to give their focus on teaching- prepare a good lesson and deliver such effectively. Clerical tasks should be left to non-teaching personnel specifically hired for the purpose.
Provide leave benefits for teachers during the school year
“Sa sobrang hirap at bigat ng trabaho, kailangan nating makapagpahinga paminsan-minsan, pero bawal tayong mapagod at magkasakit dahil wala tayong leave.”
Teachers are the only civil servants who do not enjoy the sick and vacation leave. Worse, there is a provision in Magna Carta for Teachers that mandates the government expenditure for their medical examination and even hospitalization. Unfortunately, the DepEd failed to implement this since 1966. It was also mentioned and actually agreed during the past dialogues with the DepEd but until this year, the annual physical examination is shouldered by the teachers in varying amount, from P120 the lowest to more than P1000.00 in the hinterlands.
TEACHERS’ DIGNITY COALITION (TDC)
Mobile: 0916-6126739/ 0927-3356375
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