Monday, October 05, 2009

Filipino teachers are overworked and underpaid, says teacher's organization

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / October 5, 2009) - In commemoration of the World Teachers' Day, the Kahugpungan ng mga Magtutudlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon sa Mindanao and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Partylist reiterate the need to upgrade teachers’ salary and the prioritization of education in the proposed 2010 national budget.

“Thousands of overworked, underpaid teachers in Davao City are in dire need for higher salaries and better working conditions," said Elenito Escalante, chairperson of KAMKEM-ACT.

He was referring to the Education Reform Agenda, a substantial legislative matter being pushed by ACT in order to alleviate the worsening system of education in the country.

“We are pushing for the P9000 wage increase for teachers and non-teaching staff through the House Bill 4734,” Escalante said in a statement.

The bill was filed by Gabriela Partylist Representatives Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

Escalante cited that the low education budget and neglect for the teacher’s welfare "reflects the Arroyo government’s utter disrespect to the basic right of every Filipino for quality education."

He also said that "teachers receive the lowest salaries in the ranks of the professionals in the Philippines. The shortage of teachers in the country is not surprising as many prefer to work abroad."

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration reports that 1,666 teachers leave annually to teach in Africa, Europe and Asia or to work as caregivers or domestic helpers in Saudi Arabia, Hongkong or Singapore.

The ACT Teachers’ Party also lambasted the proposed Department of Education 2010 budget which roughly computes to only P6 per student.

The proposed budget is only 2.8 percent of the country’s GDP which is inadequate if one uses the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ideal computation of 6 percent of GDP which should be allotted for education.

“Lack of budget in education results to inadequate facilities such as schools, classrooms, and textbooks,” Escalante said.

In 2008, there are 287 public elementary schools and 66 public high schools in Davao City yet there are only 4,489 public elementary school teachers and 2,227 public high school teachers.

“Clearly there is a discrepancy with the number of teachers per school. If that is the case we only have roughly 15 teachers per public elementary school and about 34 teachers in public high schools,” Escalante said.

He said: "Teachers put in long hours and more teaching load, while the DepEd is pushing for a reduction of class hours to accommodate the increasing number of pupils and inadequate classrooms."

“Our call is very simple: give priority to education and give back the teachers’ dignity,” Escalante said.

No comments: