Provide accommodations to public school teachers who need it the most– Angara

Provide accommodations to public school teachers who need it the most– Angara

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the provision of living
facilities for public school teachers, especially those who have to
travel long distances to get to their schools.

“For years we have heard of stories of our teachers who have to travel
far and oftentimes through rough terrain and even turbulent waters
just to reach the schools where they teach. This is the type of
dedication to work that we must recognize and give proper attention to
at all times,” Angara said.

“Not only is the travel to work very challenging, but also dangerous.
We have teachers who need to ride boats to get to the schools situated
in remote areas and sometimes these vessels capsize. This would not be
an issue if they have the option of living within or near their
schools,” Angara added.

Now with the COVID-19 pandemic where face-to-face classes are
prohibited, many teachers still have to take perilous journeys to
deliver the learning modules to their students in far-flung areas.

The senator noted that even city dwellers go through their own
challenges with their daily commute to work where traffic congestion
takes up so much of their time and energy, which could be better spent
in the classrooms.

In a February 2019 report, the Philippine Institute for Development
Studies took note of how public school teachers are chronically
overworked as a result of their teaching duties and the multitude of
non-teaching tasks that are given to them on a regular basis.

New York-based ThoughtCo, a premier reference site on education
content, also found that a teacher who loses as little as five minutes
of instructional minutes a day due to inefficiencies waste 15 hours
of opportunity over the course of a 180-day school year.

To address these issues being faced by our teachers, Angara filed
Senate Bill 2317 or the Teachers’ Home in School Act, which seeks to
provide public school teachers with “livable and humane” living
facilities within the schools or at the nearest possible location to
the schools where they teach.

Covered under the bill are public school teachers who are experiencing
difficulty in commuting to their place of work or are deployed in
public schools located in remote or isolated areas.

The Department of Education, together with the Department of Public
Works and Highways, is tasked to construct the living facilities, the
funding of which will be sourced from the existing budget of the
DepEd.

Additional funding may be sourced from the Special Education Fund
arising from the real property tax collected by the local government
units where the living facilities will be situated.

“Given a choice, I am sure many of our teachers would opt to live
within the school premises especially if they live far from where they
teach. Our teachers are essential to the development of our children
and the nation. We must strive to provide them with as much assistance
as possible in recognition of the sacrifices they make,” Angara said. (ai/mtvn)

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