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By Vergel Labesig

THE Alliance of Concerned Teachers hit Education Secretary Sara Duterte for “abdicating” her responsibility to lead and protect the education system.

The group lambasted Duterte over her statement that she will not take part in the final decision on the proposal to revise some terminologies in the basic education curriculum pertaining to the Marcos dictatorship.

“It is deeply unsettling that the Education Secretary has chosen to distance herself from this pivotal decision, especially when it concerns the revision of terminologies related to the Marcos Sr. regime, a period marked by human rights violations, corruption, and tyranny,” Vladimer Quetua, the group’s chairperson, said.

“By neglecting her role in this process, VP Sara Duterte is effectively abdicating her responsibility to provide the leadership and guidance necessary to protect the quality and truthfulness of our education system, particularly when it comes to matters as crucial as curriculum revisions. Such revisions hold immense national importance as they directly influence the knowledge and perspectives our students gain about our history and society,” Quetua added.

Although the group acknowledged the need for experts and scholars to make curriculum decisions, he said the Education secretary should “actively participate in these matters considering that the curriculum is one of the fundamental bases of daily teaching.”

“This underscores our concern that her lack of educational background may hinder her ability to effectively oversee the department, potentially leading to misdirection,” Quetua said.

“Mariin din naming kinukundena ang anumang hakbangin na baluktutin at palabnawin ang pag-aaral sa kasaysayan. Nagmumula sa edukasyon ang pagmumulat sa mga kabataan higit lalo pang malagim na yugto ito ng ating kasaysayan. Our educational system should remain a beacon of truth and enlightenment,” he added.

By Vergel Labesig

THE Alliance of Concerned Teachers called on the Department of Education to halt the implementation of the MATATAG Curriculum and conduct an open, democratic and genuine consultation with education stakeholders.

The new curriculum was pilot tested in 35 schools beginning Monday, Sept. 25,2023.

The group said the MATATAG curriculum is just a rebranding of the Enhanced Basic Education Curriculum.

“The benchmarking of the 21st century skills development to produce graduates is aligned to the demands of foreign entities. This runs counter to our need to produce graduates that should be inclined to the constitutional mandate of education to establish, maintain and support a complete, adequate and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society,” Vladimir Quetua, the group’s chairperson, said.

The group raised concerns that the premature implementation of the re-branded K to 12 curriculum is another experimental educational scheme making youth guinea pigs.

“Just like in the implementation of K-12 in 2012, it is disheartening that after more than a decade, the DepEd would tell the public that an implemented curriculum is problematic,” Quetua said.

ACT maintained that the worsening education crisis stems from the government’s failure to significantly overhaul the curriculum, address education shortages, capacitate and empower teachers, and conduct an evidence-based nationwide learning assessment to determine the extent of learning loss.

“It is necessary to democratically and genuinely draft a relevant and responsive curriculum that will produce graduates who will contribute to nation building– a nation that addresses the needs of the Filipino people for food security, development of small and medium enterprises, utilization of science and technology for agricultural development and establishment of basic national industries for the common people and not for the profit-generating capitalist entities,” Quetua said.

By Vergel Labesig

THE Alliance of Concerned Teachers pinned the blame on the drop in enrollment on the Department of Education.

“We have to remember that it is the governments’ duty to send its youth to school and give utmost priority thereof. But it is so disgusting that the government seem not to do so. In fact, yearly average in education budget in the past 5 years is only 3.5 percent of the GDP which is too far from the 6 percent global standard,” Vladimir Quetua, the group’s chairperson, said.

“This negligence is directly affecting the students and the teachers. A Filipino learner this year has only P23,552 per capita budget or P107 daily allocation from the government,” Quetua added.

He said DepEd should be held accountable for the two million drop in enrollment.

“Matagal na nating sinasabi na hindi sapat ang budget sa edukasyon na nilalaan ng gobyerno para sa pagpapa-aral sa kanyang kabataan. Naipapasa itong responsibilidad na ito sa mga magulang na kakarampot lamang ang sahod, kulang panga sa pangkain. Magtataka pa ba tayo na marami ang pipiliing magtrabaho na lamang at hindi na mag-enrol?” Quetua said.

The group called on Education Secretary Sara Duterte not to demonize protesting, which it said is one of the democratic rights of Filipinos.

“Saklaw ng Departamento na siguraduhin at tiyakin na walang estudyanteng maiiwan. Bakit napaka-allergic ni Sara Duterte sa mga tanong? Walang masama sa pagrerehistro ng karapatan. In fact, kaya tayo tumutungo sa lansangan para maitambol ang mga panawagan para sa edukasyon, guro, at mag-aaral. Itong paninisi ni Sara Duterte ay baseless. Panay turo na lang at sisi sa mga kritiko samantalang walang ginagawa para alamin ang mga rason bakit bumababa ang mga nage-enroll,” Quetua said.

By Vergel Labesig

THE Alliance of Concerned Teachers denounced the government’s move through the Department of Education to distort history and undermine the historical truth about Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s dictatorship.

The group criticized the directive of the Department of Education’s Curriculum and Teaching Management Committee to its Bureau of Curriculum Development to change “Diktadurang Marcos” to “Diktadura” found in the Quarter 3 of 2023 MATATAG Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan Curriculum

“The alteration of historical terminology is not only distortion but also undermines the truth about one of the darkest periods in Philippine history. Ferdinand Marcos Sr. ruled the Philippines with an iron fist, suspending civil liberties, suppressing dissent, and committing numerous human rights violations during his regime,” Vladimer Quetua, the group’s chairperson, said.

“To reduce his oppressive rule to a mere “Diktadura” is a disservice to the countless victims of his dictatorship and an affront to the pursuit of historical accuracy and truth,” he added.

“DepEd bears a solemn responsibility to provide students with an accurate and comprehensive understanding of their country’s history. By attempting to sanitize and whitewash the term “Diktadurang Marcos,” it is failing in its duty to promote critical thinking and historical consciousness among Filipino youth,” Quetua said.

The group called on DepEd to immediately retract this directive and ensure that the Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan Curriculum accurately reflects the historical truths of the Marcos dictatorship.

By Vergel Labesig

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers expressed deep dismay and concern over the Department of Education’s justification for its request for confidential funds saying its focus on issues beyond its primary mandate only undermines the urgent and pressing needs of the education system.

The group issued the statement after DepEd claimed that 16 public high schools in the National Capital Region are sites for New People’s Army’s recruitment.

“We find DepEd’s rationale for seeking confidential funds feeble and questionable. The shortages are enormous, and these are the real issues plaguing our education system. It is absurd that DepEd Sec. Sara Duterte asserts that education is intertwined with national security while she fails to see that poor learners’ performance is directly interrelated with the classroom and other education shortages,” Vladimer Quetua, the group’s chairperson, said.

“Nasa 150,000 dagdag na classrooms ang kailangan para tugunan ang kakulangan habang nasa 13 million armchairs ang kulang para sa bilang ng enrollees ngayong taong panuruan. Kung tunay na nagmamalasakit ang DepEd sa seguridad ng mga mag-aaral, dapat binibigyan nito ng sapat na classrooms at learning materials. Patunay ang bumulaga sa aming lagay ng classrooms nitong class opening na hinati na sa gitna, nasa higit 50 pa ang mag-aaral sa isang klase,” Quetua added.

ACT reiterated its call for confidential funds to be rechanneled to resolve the learning crisis and address enormous shortages in classroom, teachers, education support personnel, and teaching and learning resources.

“Hindi kailangan ng DepEd ng pondo para sa confidential funds. Hindi trabaho ng ahensya ang national security. Hindi malulutas ng confidential funds ang lawak at lalim ng learning crisis. Malinaw na mas prayoridad ni VP Sara Duterte ang mag-function bilang NTF-ELCAC Vice Chair kaysa bilang DepEd Secretary,” Quetua said.