Teachers group gives Duterte failing mark in education

MANILA, Philippines — Less than a week before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his last State of the Nation Address, teachers group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) gave him a failing grade for not fulfilling his promises to education stakeholders.

“Natapos ang school year 2020-2021 pero hindi natapos ang problemang kinakaharap ng sektor ng edukasyon bunsod ng sistematikong pagpapabaya ng kasalukuyang pamahalaan,” ACT secretary-general Raymond Basilio said.

[Translation: The school year 2020-2021 ended, but the problems faced by the education sector persist due to government neglect.]

Citing budget cuts and education officials’ poor strategy, ACT believes the state of education grew worse in the past five years.

Basilio said the pandemic further highlighted problems in the education sector such as overworked and underpaid teachers and outdated school facilities.

“Bakit hindi natin magawa yung voluntary or limited face to face classes? Dahil ang ating mga school ay walang sapat na facilities upang matiyak yung kaligtasan ng ating mga estudyante,” Basilio said.

[Translation: Why can’t we hold voluntary or limited face to face classes? That’s because our schools don’t have enough facilities to ensure our students’ health.]

The group also said thousands of private school teachers remain under contractual basis.

They claim many of the teachers lost their jobs this past year as small private schools stopped operating after failing to receive aid from the government.

“Mayroon namang kakarampot na ayuda. Hindi nga ito naramdaman. Nauwi lang sa P5,000 bawat guro pero hindi nga lahat nakatanggap nito. Yung P5,000 hanggang kailan ito napakinabangan?” ACT Private Schools secretary general Jonathan Geronimo said.

[Translation: There is measly cash aid that did not make a difference. Only P5,000 was given to every teacher, but others weren’t even able to receive this subsidy. How long can such a small amount last?]

The next school year will officially open on September 13.

Reporting by Albert Rovic Tan

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