Teachers doing best to provide quality education despite low pay, groups say

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Teachers doing best to provide quality education despite low pay, groups say

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) – October 9, 2019 – 9:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers on Wednesday decried Education Secretary Leonor Briones’ challenge to raise the quality of education in public schools in light of a promised pay hike as it stressed that it is not yet clear how much the increase will be.

In a statement, ACT Philippines’ National Chairperson Joselyn Martinez said the pay hike should not be seen as a favor to teachers but something that they deserve.

“Hindi pa nga natatanggap at binabarat pa nga, naniningil na kaagad ng kapalit ang gobyerno,” she said.

(It hasn’t even arrived yet and it’s lower than what was asked, and they’re already asking for something in return)

Martinez said that it is “unfair for the government to demand quality education of teachers when its planned salary increase would not even afford teachers a quality life.”

She added that the quality of public school education is a product of limited budgets, which “[cause] big backlogs in classrooms, textbooks, teachers, education support staff, and teaching equipment and materials.”

She said it was “convenient for the government to pass on the blame and responsibility of quality education to teachers.”

“As we increase the salaries and improve the terms of employment of our public school teachers, we expect our teachers to be the driving force to raise the quality of the country’s basic education,” Briones said Tuesday after President Rodrigo Duterte promised on Sunday that teachers would get a raise of “35 or more.”

Teachers’ groups held numerous protests and demonstrations that weekend to mark National and World Teacher’s Day. 

TDC seeks P10,000 across-the-board increase

The Teacher’s Dignity Coalition, which participated in an October 8 technical working group session with the Senate Committee on Government Service and Reorganization, said on its Facebook page that it seemed the Department of Budget and Management showed little interest in across-the-board measures for salary increases. 

TDC called on the government to honor a promise of a 10,000-peso augmentation rather than the 21-percent increase reflected in the DBM report.

It also raised concern on similarities in the statements of DBM and DepEd on the Special Hardship Allowance, and the Proportional Vacation Pay among others. 

“Dapat maalala ng DBM na ang mga guro ay walang sick at vacation leave na binibigay sa lahat ng empleyado at manggagawa, pribado man o publiko,” TDC said.

(The DBM should keep in mind that teachers don’t have sick and vacation leaves that employees and workers get, whether they are in the private or public sector)

The group also pointed out that a 21-percent increase is a far cry from Duterte’s promise of “35 or more,” whether he meant 35% or P35,000.