TODAY, lessons in different classrooms in the country will not be written in chalk.
This, as public school teachers hold the National Chalk Holiday in protest against the meager allowance they get from the National Government to buy chalk.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) is asking the National Government to increase the annual allowance for chalk per teacher to P2,000 or P9.85 per day.
At present, public school teachers only get P700 a year as chalk allowance, or about P3.50 per school day.
ACT Cebu City Chapter said this is not enough.
The P3.50 allowance from the Department of Education (DepEd) can only buy three pieces of chalk at the most. Teachers, on the other hand, use about two pieces per class.
Since most, if not all, public school teachers handle more than one subject, they end up using their money to buy chalk when they ran short.
Cyril Francis Riñen, also a member of ACT, said public school teachers cannot afford to continue using their money to buy school supplies as they have meager salaries.
Antonia N. Lim, ACT Cebu City Chapter representative, said they support the National Chalk Holiday, which is to call for an increase in chalk allowance for public school teachers.
Lim, who teaches at the Abellana National High School, said there will still be classes, but teachers will refrain from using chalk.
ACT Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio filed House Bill 4134, or the Teaching Supplies Act, which proposes to increase the chalk allowance.
According to ACT, the proposed increase would require an annual budget of P1 billion for some 500,000 public school teachers nationwide.
“What we are after is the student’s learning. The present chalk allowance is not enough,” said Lim.
Riñen said use of chalk and writing board enhance teaching. It is the most affordable and readily available visual teaching aid for teachers and students, he added.
In a separate interview, DepEd 7 Director Recaredo Borgonia Sr. said he will allow the teachers’ activity as long as it will not affect classes.
“If they will not use chalk, there are other alternatives in teaching,” he told Sun.Star.
He added that the budget intended for the chalk allowance will have to depend on the National Government.
“Whether there will be an increase or not, I hope that their teaching will not be affected,” he said.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the chalk allowance can be increased if Congress approves DepEd’s proposed budget of P237 billion for 2012, which is 14 percent higher than this year’s P207 billion.
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