Support our teachers by providing laptops and communication allowance
Few days before the formal schooling resumes on Monday, DepEd management is still mum on the teachers’ concerns on their needed assistance in terms of communication and technology in order to facilitate the distance learning modality.
Teachers today have absolutely no choice but to spend at least ₱1,500 monthly on internet connection alone to be able to fulfill their duties to their learners numbering in several hundred. Video conferences, text messages, calls, surfing, downloading, and uploading materials, all of these now define this era, and COVID-19 has made this digital learning tenfold a necessity. But teachers are supplied neither service laptops nor internet allowances. Out of their own pockets, they are forced to buy not only laptops but android phones, external drives, USB drives, printers, ink, and reams of bond paper. And it does not end with buying this equipment; laptops, especially, would need to be repaired sooner or later for burned motherboards, broken keyboards, damaged screens, dead batteries, etc. Printers have a thousand things that could go wrong so soon after purchase. And being “personal” equipment, repairs and parts replacements will have to be shouldered—yet once again—by teachers.
While some LGUs are able to pitch-in on equipment like laptops once in a while, the DepEd must fulfill its mandate, take charge, and end all this injustice of the majority of teachers having to steal from their own families just to provide good education to other people’s children. Related to this, the DepEd has yet to clarify as well its claims on the 93% of schools supplied with gadgets. How many “gadgets” per school, what sort of gadgets, and which schools? This claim has got much thinking about what the claim was all about, given that most of our teachers have never heard of any colleague receiving one of these gadgets.
Last September 15, the DepEd released a memorandum stating that the agency is preparing for the provision of connectivity and communications expenses for its employees. The memorandum, however, sets conditions on who among teachers could avail of the incentive. Worse, the deadline for the activation of the DepEd Commons account, the sole requirement to qualify, was scheduled last September 21. While the TDC appreciates this effort, we would suggest that the internet data allowance be given to all teachers and employees without conditions or deadlines. Obviously, everybody in the DepEd is badly in need of internet data, be it in bytes or equivalent in cash.
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson
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