“The government could not even provide a well-ventilated venue for the training of teachers.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – As the Department of Education (DepEd) rushes K to 12 preparations this month, incidents of teachers fainting during mass trainings are indicative of how government is “insensitive” to teachers’ needs and ill-prepared to implement the new education program, said the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).
A teacher in Cebu died four days after she blacked out during a K to 12 training, while two teachers also fainted during a training in Manila.
“It is sad to note that while our government is boasting that K to 12 is for us to be globally competitive, the trainings and preparations held are actually way below the minimum standards,” said Benjamin Valbuena, ACT national chairperson.
Marlene Mancao, 52, a grade 10 Math teacher in Talisay City National High School in Cebu province, died of cardiac arrest on May 10, said Antonia Maamo Lim of ACT-Cebu.
Lim said that on May 6, the third day of the teachers training on K to 12 at the University of San Jose-Recoletos Basak campus, Mancao collapsed after her presentation of their group output. Medics said Mancao had no heart beat, but they were able to revive her. She was brought to the intensive care unit at a hospital, where she passed away after four days.
Lim said the classroom in San Jose Recoletos Basak campus was good for only 45 to 50 participants, but on the training day, 60 participants were squeezed in the room with no airconditioning.
“There was no aid that came from the DepEd. The participants and trainers were the ones who gave financial assistance for Ma’am Mancao,” Lim said in an email interview with Bulatlat.com.
Lim said Mancao held Saturday make-up classes since August 2014 to March this year. “Her relatives said there was no additional compensation or service credits that were given to her for Saturday classes.”
Lim said ACT-Cebu received report of a similar incident in another training on the same day, when a teacher suddenly had chills while presenting a group output. Fortunately, the teacher felt better after taking medicine for hypertension given by another teacher.
ACT said the DepEd should take full responsibility for the two teachers who collapsed during the K to 12 mass training in Manila.
On May 26, teachers Blesida Urmatam, 38, of Recto High School, and Apolinaria Santos, 38, of V. Mapa High School, were rushed to a hospital after fainting during DepEd-Manila’s K to 12 mass training for teachers at the Araullo high School.
ACT said Santos is still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Valbuena said DepEd officials should immediately address the needs of the two teachers and take full responsibility because the teachers collapsed in the discharge of their duties.
“All expenses incurred should be shouldered by the DepEd,” he said.
He said the venue for the mass training for the Manila teachers has only six electric fans, and was not conducive because of the hot weather. The training was held in the school’s open auditorium and classrooms.
ACT said they are also verifying similar reports from regions.
‘Insensitive and ill-prepared’
In his Facebook post Louie Zabala, Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) president said that what happened to their two colleagues is not new. Two teacher also died last year while in training for K to 12 due to scorching weather.
“This is only a manifestation of DepEd’s ill-preparedness and insensitivity to the teachers’ condition. We are at the frontline of the programs implemented by government, why can’t they prepare for better training venues?” Zabala said.
He added that some trainings were also venues for “money-making” because teachers were forced to buy t-shirts for the training.
Valbuena said these incidents only show how schools are ill-prepared for the K to 12 program. “The government could not even provide a well-ventilated venue for the training of teachers.”
He said President Aquino and Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro might insist that they are ready for K to 12 and that there are no shortages in the country’s public schools, but they could not conceal incidents like these.