Sourced from the net with exclusive interview by Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Noting how teachers, like medical front-liners, have been working for nearly 10 straight months now without proper breaks from their strenuous duties, a teachers’ group is calling on the Department of Education (DepEd) to provide “just compensation” their colleagues with proportional vacation pay (PVP) to the adjusted school calendar for the current year.
In a letter to DepEd dated March 30, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) cited that the extension of the school year was a matter of “serious concern” for educators, as their duties under distance learning “proved to be way heavier than their prepandemic duties.”
According to ACT secretary-general Raymond Basilio, the 10 months that public school teachers have worked (during the lockdowns) are already equivalent to their regular service in a common school year, which is usually succeeded by the summer vacation when teachers enjoy their PVP.
“The current school calendar under distance learning, however, has set July 10, 2021, as the last day of classes, thereby requiring teachers to work for 14 straight months without any leave benefits,” Basilio pointed out.
In this light, he reminded DepEd that the PVP is a leave benefit specifically granted to public school teachers after rendering 10 months of continuous service during a single school year in place of the mandated yearly 15-day sick leaves and 15-day vacation leaves for workers in public and private sectors.
But with the DepEd extending school year 2020-2021 for a second time, teachers, Basilio added, may no longer be able to enjoy their PVP and other benefits that go with it.
“And this is besides the fact that many public school teachers (have) yet to receive the full payment promised by the DepEd for communication expense reimbursement and service recognition incentive for 2020,” the ACT executive officer said.
In an interview, a public school teacher from Caloocan City described her situation as similar to what medical frontliners now are experiencing as they are forced to report for duty without enough sleep because most hospitals are either swamped with too many patients or are undermanned with nurses and doctors.
The teacher, who identified herself only as Ms. Diane, disclosed that with the DepEd’s adoption of the ‘blended learning’ scheme where teaching is done online and through modules, people may think that their duties and responsibilities have become easier to accomplish but this is contrary to reality.
She stressed that distance learning has actually become more burdensome, especially with the current difficulties in Internet access and connection, and this in view of the fact that they, too, like medical frontliners, have an oath of responsibility to educate their students.
In ending, Ms. Diane enthused that “not only those working in hospitals and clinics get tired because teachers, too, work up to 24 hours a day just to fulfill their duties and functions as educators of the country’s future generations. (AI/MTVN)