Teachers staked for DepEd’s blended learning — ACT

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) slammed the Department of Education (DepEd) for ‘staking teachers’ resources’ in its distance learning programs for school year 2020–2021.

The group alleged that the agency’s failure to provide the required infrastructure for its Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) meant that teachers ‘will again shoulder these costs.’

“DepEd’s prized BE-LCP is more like priced for teachers, as the hefty costs of its implementation are already denting their pockets this early.

On the other hand, the national government—who holds billions in funds for social services—saves on its expenditures, particularly in terms of school operations and maintenance, not to mention the unpaid labor and additional work given to them beyond their job descriptions,” hit ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

Among the expenses that teachers will take on, according to ACT, are the purchase of laptops or repair/upgrade of old personal ones, mobile data and/or internet connection, load for contacting learners and parents, higher utility costs, and the production and reproduction of learning materials.

ACT furthered that DepEd’s promised support is still undelivered and will hardly cover the additional costs that the alternative modalities entail.

“DepEd vowed to provide on-hand laptops to 100,000 teachers, but no such thing has taken place despite the two-week work-from-home arrangement. They also said that the P3,500 yearly chalk allowance will be used for internet expenses, despite it only being enough for around two months-worth of connection. The budgets for webinar training expenses have reportedly been short and varied across regions, notwithstanding the same telecomm charges nationwide. Now, we’re also getting reports that reproduction expenses for modules that teachers have been tasked to make as well will be reimbursed later. Puro kami ang taya, mas mayaman ba kami kaysa sa gobyerno?” questioned Basilio.

ACT further worried ‘education access and quality is bound to suffer’ if the government continues to turn a blind eye to teachers’ and parents’ woes.

The group challenged DepEd Sec. Briones’ commitment to learning continuity by urging her to demand bigger funding from the President so the agency may do its mandate.

“The education sector suffered the second biggest budget cut due to fund realignment for the government’s COVID-19 response, yet we still have nothing to show for it in terms of containing the pandemic. Despite this, Sec. Briones insists on opening classes. She therefore must be rigorous in ensuring substantial material support from the President to make it happen,” pressed Basilio.