DepEd urged to lighten teachers’ workload

Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) National Chairman Benjo Basas

TWO teacher organizations called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement its six-hour workload rule for teachers who they said still have to finish tasks even after classes are over.

Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) National Chairman Benjo Basas said requiring teachers to do extra work violated policies regarding the allowable workload for teachers set forth by the DepEd itself, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.

Basas said teachers have been flooded with paperwork, reports and online tasks just four weeks after the school year started.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), meanwhile, said some of its members have reported that only in-person classes workload are being credited by their schools.

The two hours a day allotted for non-teaching duties are not enough for them to check students' activities and prepare lessons and visual aids, ACT said.

ACT Chairman Vladimer Quetua said only one teacher is assigned for each section from Kindergarten to Grade 2, and that a teacher also doubles as the class adviser.

“Dinagdagan pa sila ng maraming non-teaching duties dahil wala pa raw silang anim na oras na nagtuturo. Kahit maraming non-teaching duties ang hawak ng isang guro ay binibilang lamang ito na isang load (More non-teaching duties were added to their load because the schools said that they work as teachers for less than six hours. Even if a teacher holds many non-teaching duties, it is counted as one load),” Quetua said.

Aside from their call to implement the six-hour workload, TDC and ACT also urged the DepEd to fast-track the hiring of teachers to fill vacancies and new teaching positions.

Doing so will help address the lack of personnel, ease the teachers' workload and reduce class sizes in highly populated schools.

Basas said the shortage of school personnel forced schools to increase class size and implement shifting schedules that meant longer working hours for teachers.

He said he expects the DepEd, through the Office of Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, to come up with a clear-cut policy on teachers' working hours.

Quetua hopes that DepEd will properly compensate teachers who were required to handle more than six loads of teaching and non-teaching work.

Education spokesman Michael Poa gave assurances the department is determined to lighten the teachers' duties and has been developing a Workload Balancing Tool that will transfer administrative tasks from teachers to non-teaching personnel.

Poa said the scheme has already been discussed by the DepEd's management committee and is set to be carried out this year.

He said the DepEd is also encouraging local government units (LGUs) to stop requiring teachers to attend local activities so they could focus on their teaching duties.

Poa also said the hiring of 10,000 teachers for the next school year is included in DepEd's 2023 budget proposal.

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