After a two-year hiatus on face-to-face work arrangements, teachers and other school personnel are now transitioning from remote work to on-site reporting.
Under Department of Education’s (DepEd) Memo No. 29 s. 2022, schools are directed to implement the 100% on-site reporting rule for teaching and non-teaching personnel in areas under Alert Level 1.
However, some teachers reported unfavorable conditions on their return to on-site work. Teaching personnel have faced issues with internet connectivity, spaces for teaching, and availability of devices as they struggle in the transition from remote work.
As a response to the issues raised by school personnel, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) trooped to the DepEd central office in Pasig to call the attention of officials of the education department over plights on the on-site reporting order.
Citing its “counterproductive” impact on education, a teacher union demanded DepEd to suspend its memorandum on on-site reporting.
The teacher group also highlighted DepEd’s “failure” to prepare for the return of teachers to schools while many are still employing remote learning modalities.
According to the group, returning teachers still face challenges in connectivity despite the department’s allocation of P700-million to bolster internet connectivity for over 7,000 schools.
“Nearly two years have passed since they announced this, but as per our survey among National Capital Region (NCR) teachers, 87.6% of them said they still don’t have a reliable internet connection at school. Where did the P700-million go? DepEd should report on this,” ACT NCR Union President Vladimer Quetua said in a statement.
According to ACT, their group already wrote to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones a month before the release of the memorandum to raise teachers’ concerns and to request a dialogue with the National Capital Region director, but to no avail.
“DepEd’s silence over the requested dialogue over alarming issues is deafening. It is clear for us that DepEd does not understand the situation and needs of the teachers and the education sector,” Quetta added.
However, DepEd said on Tuesday that their policy for mandatory on-site reporting was just compliance with the national government’s order.
The department cited Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolution No. 163-A which directs government offices under Alert Level 1 to adhere to a 100% on-site workforce.
“The DepEd is part of the administrative system of the government, and teaching is complemented by other activities. Our teachers are government workers as well,” Briones said.
ACT also slammed DepEd over its department order mandating on-site reporting of teachers from May 2 to May 13 despite an earlier announcement of class suspension due to the national elections. The group said that the memorandum only adds to the “string of senseless and unnecessarily burdensome work orders” that DepEd issues over the pandemic.
Basti Evangelista is a news and opinion writer who focuses on Philippine national politics and sectoral issues. His personal advocacy includes press freedom and social justice. He regularly plays online games with his friends during his free time. The views expressed are his own.
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