[Press Release] Groups welcome assistance to private school teachers under second Bayanihan law -Ating Guro

Groups welcome assistance to private school teachers under second Bayanihan law

The sectoral group Ating Guro Partylist expressed their support to legislators for including private school teachers to the recipients of government financial help under SB 1564 or the “Bayanihan to Recover As One Act.”

“This bill would rectify the errors committed against private school employees because while there was no exemption to teachers and academic workers in private schools from getting assistance packages, most of them were not given any cash aid either by DOLE or DSWD. Unfortunately, most of our private schools do not have the capacity to subsidize the salaries of their teachers since they are dependent to tuition and other fees from their clients,” said Juanito Dona, Jr., a grade school teacher from St. Scholastica’s College and the group’s secretary-general. “And while our public school counterparts are continuously receiving salaries during the community quarantine months, our brothers and sisters in private schools, who comprise the other half of the country’s education workforce were seemingly left behind.” He added.

Dona underscored the fact that while the DepEd and Malacanang have finally decided to re-open classes by August 24, the fate of hundreds of thousands of private school employees who employed under ‘no work, no pay’ scheme “is still hanging and that uncertainty causes anxiety and serious concerns among them.”

According to Dona, there are initial 119, 819 private school teachers affected by the pandemic citing data from a survey conducted by the Federation of Associations of Private Schools Administrators (FAPSA) and those are. The figure, he added is just a part of an estimated 263, 000 teachers and employees hired by private schools.

For its part, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said it also welcomed this move of the legislature and hoped that all the affected personnel would receive the “needed help during this critical and trying times.”

However, according to Benjo Basas, TDC’s Chairperson, “this crisis has exposed the evil scheme used in hiring teachers as well as their conditions. The practice of contractualization is rampant in schools run by private businesses. Teachers do not enjoy the right to job security and the right to self-organization. In some cases, even the minimum wage policy has not complied.” Basas added that in some particular cases, teachers in private schools were hired through a third party like an employment agency.

“While we appreciate the contributions of private educational institutions to the education sector, we urge the school owners to religiously observe the standards set by law and treat their teachers with dignity,” Basas exclaimed.

Under the proposed law, private school teachers and personnel will receive cash assistance amounting to P5, 000 to P8, 000 depending on the prevailing minimum wage in their respective regions.

“We welcome this one-time assistance but we urge Congress to enact a specific law that would ensure the protection of rights and welfare of our teachers and workers in the private education system,” Dona added.

For details:
JR Dona, Ating Guro Secretary-General
0965-5470700

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