“All these mean longer work hours, sleepless nights, no-weekends for teachers, and that’s only for one modality.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – A month after the school year 2020-2021, public school teachers still lack the resources for distance learning, according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).
ACT said the Department of Education failed to provide complete sets of modules for the first quarter, forcing teachers to improvise and shell out money from their own pockets to ensure the continued education of the students.
Public school teachers had to spend their own money for the printing of self-learning modules, which is the most preferred and widely employed mode of learning under the DepEd’s blended mode of distance learning.
With school funds running out and very few, faulty school equipment available, teachers have been printing modules and answer sheets using their own printers at home and supplies donated by their own or their students’ relatives and friends, the group said.
ACT expressed alarm on what it described as “grim prospects” of distance learning as DepEd’s “insufficient if not non-existent, resource provision hardly sufficed to cover the first quarter, forcing the hands of teachers and other stakeholders’ to dispense personal resources.”
ACT added that the teachers’ tasks continue to mount as more and more needs arise without response from the government.
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio, “All these mean longer work hours, sleepless nights, no-weekends for teachers, and that’s only for one modality.”
Basilio said a teacher could have as many as 600 modules, printed and collated for distribution to the learners or their parents.
He said many teachers had to write content at the last-minute because the modules they’re supposed to receive did not come. “Those from local DepEd offices tasked to produce such have also passed it onto classroom teachers, further overburdening them of tasks beyond their main duty, which is to teach,” Basilio said.
“All that considered, the greatest injustice here still is the denial of accessible quality education to millions of children and youth. No amount of bending over backwards will give us as much resources and capacity as the government has failed to provide the needs of remote learning. The question is, are they as committed as we are to ensuring the welfare of these learners?” he added.
‘Rechannel NTF-ELCAC funds to education’
ACT has criticized the lack of budget for distance learning, saying that the P4 billion allotted for education department under the Bayanihan to Recover as One could only cover the internet allowance for 900,000 public school teachers from October to December.
ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro is proposing the rechanneling of half or one-third of the P19.1 billion ($393 million) budget for National Task Force to End Local to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to education. That would mean P6.3 billion ($130 million) to P9.5 billion ($197 million) for the production of self-learning modules.
“Instead of lies, fake news, and relentless red-tagging, and policies and activities that terrorize the people into silence, the people’s taxes will be spent for the dire needs of teachers and students in the blended mode of learning,” Castro said.
She said rechanneling NTF-ELCAC’s budget can ease the burden of school and teachers who spend their own resources to provide the needs of the students.
“The country was devastated by the past typhoons, most especially those located in the hardest-hit areas where learning modules are soaked, damaged, and torn into pieces. More storms and disasters are sure to come and DepEd and the Duterte government must never adopt the thinking that schools and teachers should take the ‘initiative’ in dealing with these,” Castro said.