On World Teachers’ Day, education advocates give spotlight to gaps in the country’s teaching environment

October 5, 2020 - 5:34 PM
910
An elementary teacher records her voice, reading a story book as the education department copes with distance learning amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Navotas, Metro Manila, Philippines, September 16, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

A civic society group urged the national government to recognize the struggles of teachers in the new remote learning environment in light of World Teachers’ Day this year.

UNESCO or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared October 5 as World Teachers’ Day in 1994 to celebrate the teaching profession and raise awareness to their concerns and issues across the world.

The event was also established to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.

The theme this year is “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future”.

October 5 also marked the resumption of classes for primary and secondary schools.

Colleges and universities, meanwhile, have already resumed classes in August.

Teaching environment woes 

E-Net Philippines, a network of organizations that advocate for quality education, stressed that aside from students, teachers also struggle in adjusting from the traditional face-to-face learning to the new distance or blended approach in a short span of time amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Teachers have to change abruptly from face-to-face to remote learning. They have learn new pedagogies, adapt to technology and other modalities of teaching. The issue of connectivity, availability of learning resources, online safety, and mental health affect not only teachers, but students and non-teaching personnel as well,” the group stated.

“The current pandemic highlights the need for the government to address the problems and needs of teachers,” it added.

The group also called out the government’s gaps in the implementation the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), where it was supposed “to promote and improve the social and economic status of public school teachers, their living and working conditions, their terms of employment and career prospects.”

Flora Arellano, president of E-Net Philippines, noted that the workload of teachers doubled as they tried to cope with the new system of learning for the students.

“The teachers have already been working for months before the official opening of classes, attending online training sessions, webinars, meetings, and producing modules and learning materials,” Arellano said.

“But the biggest difficulties they face have to do with money, technology, new methodology, and security. Many of these are provided for in the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, but are not implemented,” she added.

The group called on the government to heed their four-point demand to improve the teachers’ situation particularly during the health crisis. These are:

  • Reduce their workload. Hire teaching assistants, if needed, to do the paper works.
  • Allocate budget for hygiene, hardship pay and hazard pay. The Magna Carta stipulates the payment of at least 25% of teacher’s salary as special hardship allowance.
  • Provide for internet connection, gadgets, and power allowances for online teaching.
  • Provide work or financial assistance to teachers rendered jobless due to COVID-19 lockdown and closure of schools.

Online greetings and street rallies

The greetings “Happy Teachers Day” and “World Teachers Day” trended across Facebook and Twitter as schools and their students in the Philippines shared messages of gratitude to teachers for their hard work.

The Department of Education, UNICEF Philippines and the national government also joined in the chorus of recognizing the efforts of teachers in the challenges that the health crisis brought.

Noong nakaraan na taon, ipinagdiwang natin ang World Teachers' Day sa Cagayan De Oro na pinangunahan ng DepEd Region X….

Posted by DepEd Tayo on Sunday, October 4, 2020

Happy World Teachers’ Day!Sa araw na ito, kinikilala ng buong mundo ang sipag at puso na binubuhos ng bawat guro sa…

Posted by UNICEF Philippines on Sunday, October 4, 2020

 

To mark the World Teachers’ Day, the Presidential Communications greeted the educators and likewise cited the Salary Standardization Law 5 that President Rodrigo Duterte signed last January.

“On January 8, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Salary Standardization Law 5 granting government employees, including teachers in the public sector, a salary increase which will be given in tranches from 2020 to 2023,” the post read.

Today, we celebrate World Teachers’ Day in honor of our educators for their fundamental commitment to shaping the…

Posted by Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) on Sunday, October 4, 2020

 

Some teachers, meanwhile, staged rallies in some parts of Manila to protest the reopening of classes despite the lack of preparations for it.