DepEd is ill-prepared for K+12, teachers say


Davao City


June 3, 2011








DepEd still has to fill up the following shortages:


For the school year 2011-2012


101,612 regular teachers

66,800 classrooms
2,573,212 chairs
135,847 sanitation facilities.

and yet DepEd wants to add 2 more years

to the elementary/high school years


Something wrong with DepEd's math? Adding more years instead of teachers and classrooms and other items?


Photos courtesy of KAMKEM-ACT Davao


June 3, 2011

KAMKEM-ACT Davao Statement

on K to 12 Program and Contractualization of Teachers

(School Year 2011-2012)

We, from the Kahugpungan sa mga Magtutudlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon sa Mindanao, believe that quality and accessible education is a long time dream for many Filipino pupils. Our educational system is plagued by oversized classroom population, lack of facilities, lack of books, lack of teachers and low wage of teachers.

All these because the government is insincere in its responsibility to provide quality education. President Benigno Aquino III’s administration has inherited the perennial problem of shortages of teachers, classrooms, and other critical education resources. Instead of addressing the root cause of the education crisis, the Aquino government is implementing a dubious education agenda that will only intensify the basic problems of lack of teachers, lack of classrooms, lack of books, etc.

Within the Noynoy Aquino administration’s term, the government is set to implement the K to 12 program with its aim of essentially adding two years in high school. This year, K to 12 also attempts to make kindergarten a universal schooling for every child aged 5 years old with an ambitious target of 2.4 million students. This would add to the current 1.5 million kindergarten population.

The large number of students necessitates sufficient number of teachers who will take the responsibility of molding the minds of kids in preparation for their formal schooling. One of the biggest public schools in Davao City has aired out their worry of having only one regular kindergarten teacher to handle 300 students. With just a few days left to go before school opening, Dep Ed is now in haste looking out for volunteer teachers to teach kindergarten. And when no volunteer teachers came up, Dep Ed is saying that Grade 1 teachers who are already handling classes will have to fill in.

The proposal of increasing the salary of public school teachers has not been approved and yet the government is already adding insult to injury.

Overburdened and underpaid: This is the true state of our educators.

Even before the start of the school year 2011-2012, preschool teachers in Davao City already lament the seven-month delay of the release of their honorarium.

Honorariums for contractual pre-school teachers amount to P3,000 for teaching one session, and P6,000 for two sessions. This is below minimum wage. They teach six hours a day, just like
regular teachers. However, some of them even exceed 6 hours of teaching

Such pay makes them vulnerable to loan sharks. They resort to other means, including selling various products in and outside the school, just to make ends meet.

What kind of quality education is expected when we overburden our teachers? We had this worry long before the government implemented the K+12 program.

How will we be able to give our best when we worry about losing our jobs on the next school year? How will we impart efficient learning when we have insufficient facilities? What quality of education can we share for our nation’s future when economic woes distract our focus from teaching?

If it is quality education that we want, the government should give the highest priority to education it terms of the national budget. This is in accordance with the Philippine Constitution. Putting a debt cap or moratorium on debt servicing and channeling this to education will immediately fill in the lack of facilities, resources, teachers and employees.

The government should also respect the rights and welfare of the students, teachers and employees of the education sector including their right to organize and assemble. The government should fund and genuinely implement the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.

And most importantly, the government should respect job security of teachers and employees and, eradicate contractualization in the education sector.

Quality education is the best gift we could give to our future generation. To achieve this, we have to respect the rights and look after the welfare of our educators.

Prioritize the education budget!

Uphold teachers’ rights and welfare!

No to contractualization of teachers!

For reference: ELENITO ESCALANTE, Chairperson, 0923-858-8506




3 MAY 2010

19 August 2010
Writer: Isagani C. Yambot Jr., MRS-PRIB

Lawmakers today opposed the proposed additional two years in Philippine basic education.

Instead, the lawmakers led by Rep. Dante Tinio (Party-list, ACT) urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to focus its attention on addressing the problems of lack of teachers, classrooms, textbooks, laboratory facilities, comfort rooms and other pressing education-related concerns.

Tinio said the government should fill the need for 54,060 teachers, 4,538 principals, and 6,473 head teachers on top of the immediate requirement for 61,343 classrooms, 816,291 school desks and 113,051 water and sanitation facilities.

“Many of our schools are dilapidated and don’t have a comfort room or even drinking fountain,” Tinio pointed out.

Likewise, Tinio said DepEd will be needing P400 million more to address the textbook shortage. “DepEd needs an additional P91.54 billion over and above its current budget to address all of these resource gaps,” Tinio said.

According to Tinio, DepEd must ensure that grade one pupils will reach and finish high school. He cited studies that only 43 out of 100 hundred high school students are able to finish their secondary education. This problem must be addressed, Tinio said.

“Because of the lack of public high schools in the country, there needs to be a dramatic expansion of access to high school education,” Tinio said, pointing out that out of 42,000 public elementary and high schools in the country only 4,000 of these are high school.


Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. (4th District, Cavite) branded the proposed two-additional year to basic education as “foolish and impractical.”

“We should first address the public school system’s widespread resource shortages,” Barzaga said.“We already know the severity of the resource shortages like the lack of teachers and rooms. Learning sessions have to be cut short to accommodate other classes while students are forced to share textbooks in groups,” Barzaga added.

Barzaga said many children between three to six years old still do not have access to pre-schooling. “Existing public day care centers are inadequate, while private kindergartens are expensive and unaffordable to poor families. As a result, many children who enter Grade 1 actually lack preparation,” Barzaga said.

Barzaga said extra funds could also be invested in the early computer literacy of elementary and high school students. “We are still in the middle ages when it comes to the use of computers and the Internet as teaching and learning tools in public school,” he said.

Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan (Party-list, Gabriela) said the plan of DepEd will only worsen the existing problems faced by the education sector including the lack of teachers, many of whom are also underpaid.

Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara (Lone District, Aurora), chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, urged DepEd to continue the school feeding program and the conditional cash transfer to poor families in the country.



June 3, 2011

DepEd is ill-prepared for K+12, teachers say

Davao City -- With news on lack of teachers and oversized classes in kindergarten, KAMKEM-Alliance of Concerned Teachers believes that the Department of Education is clearly ill-prepared for the K+12 program.

“However they wish to conceal it, we see that the Aquino government is rushing to implement the K+12 program even if there is shortage of classrooms and teachers,” said Elenito Escalante, Chairperson of the Kahugpungan sa mga Magtutudlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon sa Mindanao-Alliance of Concerned Teachers (KAMKEM-ACT Davao).

“With only a few days to go before the opening of classes, the DepEd is still out looking for volunteer teachers to teach kindergarten. A public school in the city was even reported to have only one regular kinder teacher for 300 students,” he added.

“Lack of teachers means lack of quality of education. How will we reach the target quality when you have teachers holding oversized classes?” Escalante lamented.

“There are also around a hundred of our teachers in kindergarten who do not have items and receive way below the minimum wage honorarium of only P3,000 for teaching one session and P6,000 for two sessions,” he said.

Escalante added that the honorarium of teachers in kindergarten are even delayed of up to seven months, citing cases last year.

“The government should address the teachers’ welfare to achieve quality of education. Teachers who have the responsibility of molding the minds of kids to be prepared for formal schooling should be well-compensated and have job security,” he said. ###

For reference:




As Class opening approaches, Teachers call for genuine reforms
6/03/2011 - 14:08.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers said that according to official data from DepEd itself , the deficiency in the educational necessities has reached a new record high due to the hasty implementation of the universal kindergarten program under the K+12 scheme.

“The haphazard implementation of K+12 and the inability of the government to resolve deficiencies in the number of teachers, classrooms, chairs, textbooks, comfort rooms will definitely affect the quality of education in our country,” ACT Secretary General France Castro said in a press statement.

As per Castro’s notes, the deficiency worsened in all aspects: teachers – 103,599 from previous year’s 54,060; classrooms – 152,569 from previous year’s 61,343; chairs – 13,225,572 from previous year’s 816,290; Water and Sanitation – 151,084 from previous year’s 113,051.

Castro noted that DepEd’s 207-billion budget is nevertheless insufficient to meet the United Nations’ standard which is pegged at 6% of the GDP. The ACT Secretary General remarked that such dilemma would “all the more pull our education system to the abyss.”

Castro emphasized that even the government admits that the budget it has allotted for education is insufficient. Among ASEAN countries, the Philippines is just slightly ahead of Laos when it comes to the share of education in the GDP, while the rest of ASEAN give more funds to education.

“It is not true that the government has no funds. The PNoy’s administration has wrong priorities. In the 1.6-trillion peso National Budget for 2011, 823.3 billion is allotted for debt payments. This symbolizes the government’s systematic neglect and abandonment of social services such as education for the people,” Castro added.

Citing figures from various economic think tanks, the ACT Secretary General remarked that only a debt moratorium can help address our country’s educational woes aggravated by record-high deficiencies in all aspects.

“Debt moratorium will allow us to utilize taxes for the people’s welfare. Education is one of the best investment practices with proven high yields of return. Without quality education, no nation has reached high levels of development,” Castro concluded.#

Reference: Ms. France Castro
Secretary General
Cellphone No.: 09178502124




Public School Opening for Kindergarten Pupils, A Man-made Disaster
05/31/2011 - 20:03.

As the new school year approaches, about 14 million pupils will enroll in 45,000 public and private elementary schools nationwide. Another 7 million will enter the secondary level in 10,000 schools.

An estimated 1.2 million five-year-old children will begin kindergarten, after the Department of Education (DepEd) directed that it should be offered in public schools for free.

DepEd is fully aware that the total classroom shortages for the incoming school year is around 150,000 classrooms. We still have to hear how many classrooms will be ready by June 6. For the 1.2 M new kindergarten pupils alone, at a ratio of 1:25/class on a desired single shift session, a total of 48,000 new classrooms are needed.

In a hurry to implement a noble but impracticable Universal Kindergarten program this school year, our organization, ACT has warned the DepEd that it would be a futile exercise not withstanding the cost it entails.

Children, mostly from poor families, fall out due to poor health, severe nutritional deficiencies and serious learning gaps in their early years. Consequently, an estimated 4 million children are forced to leave the school system prematurely or do not enter it at all because they are simply not school-ready.

“The real challenge is how to ensure our young children to be school-ready with quality inputs, adequate facilities suited to children’s needs and a troop of well trained teachers,” Ms. France Castro of ACT said.

“But please do not shortchange teachers. We denounce the plan to hire 10,000 teachers on contractual basis. We deserve more than the P3000 salary per three-hour session as proposed by DepEd. It is simply against the law, Ms France Castro, added.”

Bro. Armin Luistro and PNoy should be reminded that there is a Magna Carta for Teachers. ACT will lead this fight for our democratic rights and for quality education. #

Reference: Ms. France Castro
Secretary General
Cellphone No.: 09178502124



MANILA, Philippines - Building more classrooms, hiring more teachers and adding more toilets are not the only solutions to the country's problems in education according to the Department of Education (DepEd).



DepEd not ready for mandatory kindergarten, says Mindanao teachers’ group
By Germelina Lacorte
Inquirer Mindanao


DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Department of Education (Deped) is unprepared for the mandatory kindergarten curriculum, which is part of the K+12 basic education program, according to a teacher’s organization in Southern Mindanao.

The Kahugpungan sa mga Magtutudlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon sa Mindanao (Kamkem), or the Alliance of Teachers and Education Employees in Mindanao, said the DepEd has been desperately looking for volunteer teachers to handle pre-school sessions.

Elenito Escalante, Kamkem chair, said that the situation was glaring even at the Kapitan Tomas Monteverde, one of the largest public schools in the city.

According to Escalante, the school has only one kindergarten teacher for some 300 pre-schoolers.

DepEd has said it expects the number of pre-schoolers in Southern Mindanao to be much more than 2010’s 54,847 enrollees in 800 public schools.

“With just a few days to go, DepEd is now in haste, looking for volunteer teachers to teach kindergarten, saying that if no volunteer comes up, Grade I teachers already handling classes will have to fill in,” he said.

The problem is that Grade I teachers already have their hands full teaching pupils and would be so much burdened by additional loads, according to Escalante.

He said education officials should first address existing problems in public schools before introducing “solutions” that could only worsen the problem.

DepEd officials were not available for comment.

But in the information kit on the K+12, which was released last week, the DepEd said there was no need to allot additional budget for kindergarten teachers because they would not be handling additional work beyond their regular workload under the mandatory kindergarten curriculum.

But Escalante asked: “How can you expect quality education if you lacked teachers to teach?” he asked.

He added that the DepEd had never thought of increasing their salaries.

“The government likes to add insult to injury,” Escalante said.
He also lamented the DepEd’s practice of hiring volunteer teachers, who were paid a measly honorarium of P3,000 per month for every class they handle.

Escalante said the practice rarely attracted unemployed teachers because even if they wanted to work, delayed honorariums were discouraging.

“They are called volunteer teachers and sometimes, their honorarium gets delayed by up to seven months, as in the case of the previous year,” he said.

Escalante said if it wanted the quality of education to improve, the government “should give teachers just compensation and job security.”



8-point Education Reform Agenda
01/31/2008 - 00:00.

The crisis of Philippine education is worsening. Quality of learning is deteriorating; school facilities are inadequate and obsolete; cost of education is rising; and campus repression is reaching an alarming level. Education is failing in its mission to equip young Filipinos with relevant life skills and knowledge to enable them to confront the challenges of nation-building.

Education reforms initiated by the private and public sectors do not address the roots of the crisis. Corruption defeats the efforts to improve delivery of education. State policies exacerbate the colonial, commercialized, elitist and fascist features of Philippine education.

It is true that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inherited a flawed education system. But Arroyo is also responsible for aggravating the crisis of education. A relevant, robust and efficient education system is not one of Arroyo's legacies in the past seven years. Arroyo's education program has further diminished the capability of schools and decreased the opportunities for learning in the country.

A deficient education system heightens social discontent and poverty. Thus, education policies should be overhauled immediately. New programs must address the basic problems of education. Failure to implement key reform measures will intensify the education crisis.

Different stakeholders of education have drafted an 8-point education agenda which highlights the crucial role of the government in reversing the decline of Philippine education.

1. Increase the budget of education. National spending on education should be equivalent to 6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. The education sector should receive at least 20 percent of the national budget. Increased government revenues should be used to fill the various gaps in the education sector like the shortages in classrooms, books, computers and other learning tools.

Public education, both formal and alternative systems, should be strengthened. More schools should be established in the country. Scholarship funds should be increased. The government should revamp its policy of reducing the budget of state universities and colleges. Dwindling funds lead to wholesale and subtle forms of insidious commercialization in public schools.

The government has enough resources to allocate higher funding for education. Lawmakers can give up a portion of their pork barrel in favor of education investments. Payment for anomalous debt contracts should be cancelled outright. A significant fraction of debt servicing and intelligence funds of Malacanang should be realigned to education services.

2. Use Filipino as medium of instruction. Language is an important factor in the cognitive development of children. Students learn better and faster if the national language is used in schools. Over the years, Arroyo has made the English language as the only medium of instruction in the country. Congress is supportive of this policy. Education agencies have prioritized programs that would improve English language proficiency. Arroyo's language policy, aside from reinforcing the colonial character of Philippine education, restricts the learning ability of students. Policymakers need to understand the pedagogic value of using the Filipino language in schools.

3. Improve teachers' welfare. Teachers are the most important human resource in Philippine education. Yet they continue to suffer from work overload while receiving low wages. Many times their salaries are even delayed. Congress should pass the bill that would raise the salaries of public school teachers and other government employees by P3,000. The Magna Carta of Private School Teachers should be enacted. Training and re-training of teachers should be given priority. Opportunities for graduate education or research activities by teachers should be enhanced.

4. Moratorium on tuition and other fee increases. Rising school fees are forcing hundreds of thousands of students to drop out from schools. Millions of young Filipinos could not afford the high cost of education today. Education officials are not seriously performing their duty to regulate school fees. At a time when prices of commodities are rising, and when household incomes continue to fall, a moratorium on tuition increases in both private and public schools can bring immediate relief to poor families. Congress can pass a law that will clarify and strengthen the mandate of the government to regulate school fees.

5. Develop a nationalist and relevant curriculum. School courses or subjects should prioritize the country's needs over the manpower requirements of other countries and multinational corporations. Vocational/Technica l education should match the actual needs of the local economy. Science education should be pursued to promote national industrialization and develop a productive agricultural system. Medical and nursing education should be reformed to meet community health needs. School courses should inculcate patriotism and inspire students to serve the people. Learning history and other social sciences, humanities and the arts should continue to be taught in schools.

6. Invest in science, research and technology development. The country's rich natural resources can be developed through sufficient investments in research and development, along the line of national industrialization and advancement of the agricultural sector. National spending on research and development should be equivalent to 1 percent of the GDP. Government should grant generous incentives to scientists, promote R&D in schools and use science and technology to solve hunger and poverty in the country. R&D should also be directed towards the protection of natural resources against exploitation by big companies.

7. Promote transparency in education programs. There are various initiatives to improve Philippine education. However, many of these programs are tainted with corruption. Taxpayers' money is wasted when corrupt bureaucrats take the lead in sponsoring programs with minimal or even dubious benefit to the public. The Cyber Education Program is an example of an overpriced, redundant and scandal-ridden project. There should be transparency in implementing education reforms. Stakeholders should be consulted first before approving major education programs. Other ongoing projects like the Call Center Training Academy of the Commission on Higher Education should be reviewed by the public.

8. Uphold democratic rights in schools. Teachers and students are among the victims of extrajudicial killings, forced abductions and other forms of political repression. The perpetrators of these crimes should be brought to justice. Democratic rights should be respected inside campuses. The vilification and psy-war operations conducted by the military and police in schools and universities against progressive student and teacher organizations under the guise of socio-civic activities should be ended immediately. Soldiers and police forces deployed or operating inside schools should be pulled out at once.

Academic freedom and the right to organize should be respected in schools. Congress should probe school authorities that implement rules and guidelines that violate basic rights provided by law.

The government should refrain from undermining the independence of the student movement. The establishment of government-sponsore d national student organizations is highly condemnable since this compromises student welfare and autonomy of student politics.

- National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), KABATAAN Party, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) -