"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stop K-12, Asks Teachers Group


by Yvonne T. Chua, Vera Files 

2 June 2012

A new curriculum awaits Grade 1 and 7 students when classes open on Monday. File photo by Vincent Go

An association of school teachers has called for a stop to the implementation of the government's K-12 basic education program, citing the absence of a law authorizing the program and the "disastrous" partial implementation of universal kindergarten last year.

The Department of Education is rolling out Grades and 7 of the K-12 curriculum in public elementary and high schools when classes open on Monday.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers called the K-12 program "ill prepared and ill conceived."
"The curriculum is not yet ready, funds are insufficient to cover the basic inputs such as shortages on teachers, classrooms, textbooks, chairs and sanitation facilities," the ACT said in a statement.
The teachers said they had complained to Malacanang how the more than a million kindergarten pupils and thousands of volunteer teachers "suffered" as a result of DepEd's lack of preparation in introducing universal kindergarten, but were ignored.  Volunteer teachers were paid allowances of only P3,000 to P6,000, which were delayed, it said.
The ACT warned that the introduction of the new curriculum in the first and seven graders will bring out "more chaos" and is a "bigger disaster in the making."
"Teachers who will handle Grade I and First Year high school students declared that the curriculum is not ready and the trainings were hastily done. Kits and instructional materials were not ready, how much more the books that should be used come school opening?" it said.
In seeking a halt to the implementation of K-12, the teachers asked the DepEd and Malacanang to prioritize the development of quality kinder education program, which was legalized only on Feb. 27 this year.
It said the new curriculum should be based on "a more serious, comprehensive and an in-depth study, formulation and preparation (and) deeper and more extensive testing and determination of the fundamental problems of the education system in particular and our society as a whole."
A commission with "credibility, authority and funds" to do this should be created, it added.
For the kindergarten program, the ACT sought at least 30,000 new regular teaching items for kindergarten, with salaries equivalent to those received by Teacher 1 in the Salary Standardization Law 3, instead of hiring contractual and volunteer teachers.
It also said Grade 1 and other grade level teachers who would teach the kinder students should receive additional compensation, equivalent to 25 percent of their  basic pay, based on the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.
The teachers also proposed a class size of 25 pupils, with one teacher aide per class who would be considered "volunteer" teachers.
The ACT also called on the government to address perennial problems in public education:
  • Fill in shortages of teachers (132,483), classrooms (97,685), sanitation facilities (153,709) and instructional materials.
  • Double the budget for Maintenance, Operating and Other Expenses of schools .
  • Upgrade salaries of teachers, including a P6,000 increase in the base pay of personnel.
  • Provide a budget for education not lower than the United Nations  standard of 6 percent of the gross national product.
(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.)

6 comments:

  1. Instituting a major policy change in education based on just the observations and anecdotes of a few misguided politicians and non-scientist educators is not only irresponsible but criminal. Implementing a half-cooked K-12 program squanders aways billions of pesos that Filipinos worked hard for. That I am livid every time I see the Education Secretary spouting half-truths in the media is an understatement. I am glad I found this blog. At least I know that there are still some sane people in our country who strongly oppose K-12. Aside from the mobilization organized by the ACT though, I have not seen any other that is publicized on national media. If only the teachers' unions and education associations in the Philippines have the same political clout as the teachers' unions in the US. I could get in trouble for this but I honestly think that it's about time Filipino teachers put some of their hard-earned money where their mouth is. In California, every teacher pays about $1500 in union dues. This is a significant amount of money but it is a good investment. Because they could afford to hire lobbyists and PR persons to advocate for them and lawyers to protect their rights, politicians and the media listen.

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  2. A better organization for teachers is indeed needed. But how can teachers do this when they are overworked and underpaid. The teaching profession because of the poor salary and working conditions has not attracted innovative and talented people. It is sad to see, for example, as you pointed out, that only ACT has been staging some sort of opposition. And unfortunately, ACT's stand is sometimes tainted with ideological statements that do not help their cause. The ultra-nationalism and "communist" that some of their statements carry, in my opinion, do not help them in their campaign.

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    1. Teachers will continue to be overworked and underpaid until they find their collective voice - a voice united behind a common purpose, emanating from their shared experiences, free from ideological rhetoric and tempered by reason. Instead of being mere spectators, teachers need to participate in the national conversation.

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    2. Eladio Dioko wrote, "The suspicious is that the sugar- coating of K+12 must have been based on the general reaction of education personnel themselves, particularly the teachers, who number almost half a million. Their culture is one of subservience to whoever calls the shots in the agency, and the latter for their part expect total obeisance to whatever initiatives they pursue."

      http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=819472&publicationSubCategoryId=109

      This is a huge stumbling block to what you and I think teachers should be doing.

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    3. This is sad but true. The teachers back home that I spoke with have strong objections to K+12 but on the same breath they also expressed resignation to its inevitable implementation regardless of what they feel or say about it. It is sad to see noble professionals reduced to powerless puppets. Teachers will continue to fall victim to the whims and caprices of their leaders until they wise up and organize themselves. What is needed is a National Teachers Association that will unify their efforts to promote equity and access to quality education for all Filipinos. This association will provide leadership in research and innovation and will be the teachers' voice in shaping education policy and reform.

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    4. By the way, I have quoted you in my recent post,
      http://philbasiceducation.blogspot.com/2012/07/when-teachers-are-underpaid.html

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