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
“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
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
“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
“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
Cellphone No.: 09178502124
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
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
DepEd not ready for mandatory kindergarten,
says Mindanao teachers’ group
By Germelina Lacorte
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
“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
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,”
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
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.”
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
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) -