With the looming ‘new normal’ in education, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) asks the Department of Education (DepEd) for a sort of internet allowance to boost their existing cash allowance popularly known as “chalk allowance’ intended to for materials they use for teaching.
“With this drastic change in teaching and learning approaches, our teachers will need to upgrade their technological capacity and digital access,” said Ildefonso Enguerra III, a teacher in Roxas High School, Manila and the President of TDC-NCR Teachers’ Union (TDC-NCRTU), the TDC’s regional chapter in Metro Manila. “The DepEd may consider the provision of gadgets like laptop computers or tablets and internet access to our teachers,” he added.
Last week the DepEd announced that the cash or ‘chalk’ allowance in the amount if P3, 500 will be released sooner to all the teachers engaged in actual classes despite the earlier confirmation that there would be no face to face learning.
“That amount is only equivalent to P16.00 a day, but it would certainly help our teachers. But again, with online tasks continuously growing, we may need more funds to cope-up. Our experience in the first week of enrolment alone- where we were tasked to enlist the children online through social media, text messages and calls- shows that we will be needing more assistance to deliver the expected output of distance education,” Enguerra, who is also currently engaged in online classes revealed. The TDC said that a P1, 000 internet allowance per month, may not be enough but will be a great help for teachers.
The TDC, meanwhile commends the local government units that initially pledged their help to their constituents, teachers, and learners alike, including the cities of Pasig, Taguig, Manila and Quezon. These LGUs have pledged to provide gadgets to teachers and students or both.
“We appreciate all those initiatives, but we fear that if we leave it solely to the initiative of the LGUs, it will further widen the digital divide. These are highly urbanized cities and among the richest in our country, so obviously they have the capacity, while others do not,” Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson said.
Basas, however said that there is hope even in some localities outside the capital as proven by the Malolos City local school board (LSB), when Mayor Bebong Gatchalian and schools division superintendent Dr. Norma Esteban, co-chairs of the board agreed on the proposal of the City of Malolos Public School Teachers’ Association (COMPSTA) president Rommel Alcaraz for the provision of portable broadband, flash drives, alcohol and masks for all the 1, 700 teachers in the city.
“The city school board complied with the Learning Continuity Plan set forth by the DepEd Malolos and it did not leave the teachers on their own. Napakalaking tulong po ito para sa aming mga guro na makasabay sa ‘new normal education’ na ating kinakaharap ngayon,” Alcaraz said in a Facebook post.
The TDC leadership enjoined all its local members and affiliates to persuade their respective local school boards to divert the funds from repair and maintenance, construction and sports facilities to technological needs of both teachers and learners in their localities.
“The need for building may not be that urgent, even the sports activities are suspended. So it may be wise if we spend the money for digital needs. However, to be fair to all, the national government must step in,” Basas ended. #
Ildefonso Enguerra, TDC-NCRTU President- 0908 1637529
Rommel Alcaraz, COMPSTA President- 0932 8784676
Benjo Basas, TDC National Chairperson- 0927 3356375
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