Makati to implement teaching fellowship program

MANILA – The Makati government is set to implement a teaching fellowship program in the city’s three public elementary schools for two years, Mayor Abigail Binay said on Tuesday.

In a virtual ceremony, the city government, along with the Department of Education, Makati City Schools Division (DepEd-Makati), and the Teach for the Philippines, Inc. (TFP) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) pushing a teaching fellowship program.

The agreement sets a PHP3.28-million budget for the teaching fellowship program which will be implemented for the school years 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022.

“The City of Makati is proud to be a part of this meaningful collaboration with the prime movers of quality public education in the country,” Binay said.

“As we shift to remote learning in the new normal, multi-stakeholder collaboration is crucial to addressing the many impediments to our envisioned quality education for all,” she added.

According to the city government, TFP Inc. has chosen six college graduates to become fellows within the partner schools of Makati which will be implemented under the MOA.

The city government said it will shoulder the allowances and cost of the training of the teacher fellows for two years, including the summer period between them.

TFP Inc., a non-stock and non-profit organization, said it will provide all fellows with access to various resources including sample lesson plans, assessments, grade tracking systems, and instructional materials.

The city government said Makati’s education department, through school principals, will directly supervise the fellows and collaborate with TFP to support them in creating an interactive platform, where critical and analytical thinking skills can be developed.

The city government said the program targets to establish a training program for the teachers and non-education majors pushing them to become successful and transformational educators.

The program also has a research and development component for the formulation of science-based policies on education in the future.

Two teacher fellows will be assigned to each of the three selected public elementary schools, the city government said.

The schools include La Paz Elementary School, Maximo Estrella Elementary School, and Nemesio I. Yabut Elementary School.

Under the MOA, each fellow will teach for a maximum of six hours a day with the supervision of the school principal.

Meanwhile, TFP co-founder and chair, Elizabeth Zobel de Ayala, said she was elated to have finally forged a partnership with Makati local government.

“We are honored to be working with the City of Makati because the leadership that you provide is extraordinary, and not just in Covid times but also in the way you supported the educational system of Makati,” she said.

Ayala cited the city government’s efforts on education amid the pandemic, have inspired TFP to pursue the teaching fellowship program in the city.

The city government initiatives include the distribution of learner’s package to students, provision of free internet load, and the Dyipni Maki mobile learning hub project. (PNA)

When a Law Enforcer Violates the Law

Eskimo: ‘If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?’ Priest: ‘No, not if you did not know.’ Eskimo: ‘Then why did you tell me?’

— American author Annie Dillard

THE Good Book says in Proverbs 24:11-12, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”

And in James 4:17, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

This tells us that the mere failure of someone to do something when he witnesses a sin is being committed is tantamount to committing the same sin in itself.

And what about those who enforce the law and in some quirk of event are the ones who violate it?

The truth is, there are police officers among the rank and file of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who are also criminals in mind and by nature.

Take the case of one police general, whose brother is now embroiled in several alleged wrongdoings as president of Gracel Christian College Foundation, Incorporated.

Gracel is a non-profit, non-stock inter-dominational school supposedly founded from a vision for service to God through the late Mrs. Cecilia Binag, who is a former councilwoman (kagawad) of Barangay Signal in Taguig. The Binag clan claims that God’s Grace was bestowed upon her by the Lord Jesus Christ, thus the name ‘Gracel’ was conceived and the foundation is primarily established by the “grace and truth come from Jesus Christ” in John 1:16.

One of the college staff, Annalie Pagal, who has been working for the foundation for the past 16 years, suffered recently a stroke during office hours, but instead of being rushed to a hospital for immediate emergency treatment, she was unceremoniously brought home to the chagrin of her husband and family.

And this Gracel’s management did without considering how their hapless employee worked so hard for the small salary they gave her for more than a decade-and-a-half.
Pagal, commonly known as “Nurse Anna” to co-workers and patients, started her employment with the Foundation as a nursing assistant with just the measly wage of PhP3,000 in 2004, which gradually increased until 2019 when her compensation was raised to PhP12,500—still below the minimum salary set by the Department of Labor and Employment and legal provisions under our Constitution, and this despite the fact that she often logged in for more than eight hours of grueling work.

And with the recent onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Pagal’s employers didn’t even make any adjustment to help her with the impact of the health crisis that has gravely affected not only our lowly employees but even the whole country’s economy as a whole.

And her recent experience from an uncaring employer became the last straw that pushed her and her husband to do the inevitable—file a complaint against Gracel for unfair labor practice, violation of rules set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), tax evasion (which they did by disguising as a non-profit organization and in spite of the fact that the Foundation’s owners had raked in millions of pesos in the past several years and flouted their wealth with expensive luxury cars.

The complainant’s filing of charges against Gracel could have been stayed if the Foundation’s management only took upon itself to look after their employees, particularly the victim Annalie Pagal.

But Gracel’s management lacked empathy. What they really have, it appears, is pleonexia, or sometimes called pleonexy. The term originates from the Greek πλεονεξία and it is the philosophical concept which roughly corresponds to greed, covetousness or avarice, and is strictly defined as “the insatiable desire to have what rightfully belongs to others.”

And with all these, what has our good General Cesar Binag done? He hints on being “ruthlessly self-seeking and arrogant with the assumption that others and things exist for his own personal benefit.”

Blended learning inside the cemetery

Grade One pupil Maika Kate Lopez attends to her lessons on top of an unknown tomb inside the Manila South Cemetery, Makati City, with mother Lyka taking up the role of a teacher in DepEd’s blended learning amid the pandemic. But mother and child may have to vacate soon the cemetery that they call home as the city government of Manila has a standing order to close MSC and other public cemeteries starting Oct. 28, 2020, until Nov. 5, 2020, in compliance with Covid-19 protocols.

Mores Heramis / BENJAMIN CUARESMA

Good deal of work remains

We join netizens in going to town in pointing out errors in the self-learning modules produced by the Department of Education for 22.5 million students nationwide, in time for the opening of classes on October 5.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones had described the opening of distance education – unprecedented in the history of education in this country because of the global pandemic – as “very successful” and noted that recorded glitches were but minimal.

Her words at a news briefing: “Generally as a whole, the launching of classes is very successful. You can only count on your fingers the number of problems that happened. On the basis of these 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 incidents of errors that happened, for example in modules, it appears that it was not the fault of DepEd.”

Her declaration of victory against COVID-19 during the official opening of classes posthaste earned the wrath of several groups, including those who lamented issues hounding the education sector on the launching of the school year during the health emergency.

While Briones admitted the opening of classes was not perfect, she referred to the presidential judgment: “When the President made the final decision (on the opening of classes) and we implemented it, that was a major victory considering the noisy and vicious criticism and exchange of arguments that confused the public in sifting truth from fiction.

“The fact that we were able to open schools for this academic school year is a victory in itself because of all the vicious noise that was going on from very limited groups.”

What Briones failed to acknowledge, the victory notwithstanding, were the errors called out by many in social platforms which were discovered soon as the classes opened.

We are glad the Department of Education immediately came up with a statement – and we hope it does not stop in the statement – it will address errors found in the self-learning modules (SLMs) it had produced and printed in a rush to roll out distance learning for school year 2020-2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic that prohibited face-to-face classes.

Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said the DepEd was hiring outside reviewers of the SLMs being used by their students, at the same time echoing sentiments from the department it welcomed netizens’ efforts to call out the errors.

He said the department’s Public Affairs Service had already posted links and contact numbers where these errors can be reported.

“What we’re doing now, our Public Affairs Service (has) already posted links or contact numbers where (people) can directly report the errors they will find in our self-learning modules,” San Antonio said.

We take note of his assurance that his office also launched a Facebook page, dubbed DepEd Curriculum and Instruction Concerns and Issues, where such errors and other issues of concern on public school and distance learning could be reported and discussed.

San Antonio said Education Undersecretary Alain del Pascua was now negotiating with potential partners for DepEd to help out in making better SLM content.

What is pretty disturbing is San Antonio’s admission that the failure to review all SLMs was due to DepEd‘s lack of reviewers as they rushed to prepare for the Oct. 5 opening of online learning.

That line invites a quick question. Did not DepEd perhaps think that its lack of reviewers, if indeed that is the reason, might become a blowback eventually?

San Antonio said DepEd had to rush the learning materials before the opening of classes in public schools last Oct. 5 to produce and print out the SLMs, so that some modules did not undergo “conformance review” by the DepEd central office.

Blatantly pathetic, that.

San Antonio, at a weekly virtual “Handang Isip, Handa Bukas” press conference, said they monitored the errors in the SLMs that recently went viral on social media and had tallied 35 errors, of which San Antonio said only one incident with an error in an SLM had undergone quality check by the DepEd Curriculum and Instruction review team.

He said there were 18 SLMs with errors that were designed and printed out by the DepEd division and regional offices, that did not go through the conformance review of the C&I Strand reviewers at the Central Office.

Some 15 of the errors in the SLMs, he said, are assumed to be SLMs used in private schools.

This is where we say an assertion without proof is an assertion denied,

San Antonio pointed out that the SLMs being used in all the schools had different authors.

We also note Sen. Risa Hontiveros branded as highly unfair the criticisms against teachers in light of alleged errors and confusing questions found in the SLMs.

Hontiveros, whose office received reports from the group Teachers Dignity Coalition, said the module mistakes should instead be attributed to the rushed opening of classes that resulted in DepEd’s failure to standardize and strictly evaluate learning materials.

We agree with Hontiveros that DepEd should form a technical working group composed of master teachers and experts who will screen SLMs before distributing to schools.

In standardizing SLMs, we believe this will lessen the task of teachers already hobbled by heavy teaching loads, with many complaining they are developing modules in addition to their teaching load.

If there is any sparkle at all in this confusing situation, it is San Antonio’s assurance DepEd will address the errors seen by teachers and netizens.

In the meantime, there remains a good deal of work to be done by our education authorities.

Mayor Lani gives laptops, 11k+ tablets to Bacoor senior high students

By Junex Doronio

BACOOR CITY, Cavite — “Sana all” was the joyful reaction of parents and teachers here as Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla on Tuesday, October 13, announced the distribution of 885 laptops to educators and 11,500 computer tablets to senior high school students in public schools in this city.

“Hindi naging hadlang ang pandemya para maipagpatuloy ng ating kabataang abutin ang kanilang mga pangarap sa pamamagitan ng edukasyon,” Mercado-Revilla said in her Facebook post.

She cited several issues and concerns on the present blended distance learning being imposed by the Department of Education such as slow internet signal, materials and resources for modular learning, and problem on gadgets.

Mercado-Revilla said the city government then allocated some funds to purchase brand new risograph machines for the printing, copying, and distribution of teaching modules.

She added that three brand new emergency response vehicles were also purchased for the delivery of modules to public schools.

Free school supplies were also given to kindergarten pupils, the mayor said.

“Pina-check at pinalakas natin ang (internet) connectivity requirement ng elementary, junior and senior high school. Pinalakas din natin ang wifi connection sa mga eskwelahan,” Mercado-Revilla bared.

She advised the Grade 10 to Grade 12 students to patiently wait for their computer tablets after these were turned by the city government to the Department of Education Bacoor and received by five school heads.

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