With classes in public schools set to open on September 13, former Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. stressed the need to fast-track the vaccination of teachers by including them under the essential workers classification of the national vaccination program.
Marcos made the appeal following reports that of the over 900,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education, only 80,792 have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine while only 53,045 have received their second dose as of August 11.
“Malapit nang magbukas ang klase ngunit madami pa din sa ating mga guro ang hindi pa nababakunahan. Paano naman ‘yung mga naghahandle ng blended learning na regular na nakikiharap sa mga magulang para magdistribute ng modules? Kaya dapat maisama sila sa priority list,” he said.
The former lawmaker also said the teachers’ grievances, such as delayed release of benefits and reimbursements on top of being overfatigued due to being overloaded with paper works and reports, should be addressed immediately to enable them to cope with the stress brought by the new learning systems amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Delayed na mga benefits nila, sila pa ang sumasagot ng gastos para sa internet nila, at pati ‘yung reimbursements para sa pagpiprint ng modules, delayed pa rin. May mga pamilya rin silang kailangan suportahan at hindi naman kalakihan ang kanilang sweldo,” he noted.
Based on a survey conducted by the Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality and Relevant Education (SEQuRE Educ Movement), public school teachers are also confronted with same problems encountered by students on internet access and cost on top of their heavier workload.
The former lawmaker expressed concern that since the new learning systems, both full online and blended learning, would still be in place with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, the quality of education in the country would suffer if the teachers are hindered from giving their best.
Marcos pointed out that when teachers are not weighed down by stress, overfatigue and financial setbacks, they would be more inspired to find ways to hold the attention of their students so they would learn more.
“Paano naman sila makakapagturo ng maayos kung problema na nga nila ang unstable at mabagal na internet, ngarag pa sila sa dami ng reports at paper works na kumakain pati oras ng kanilang pahinga? Di pa sila nakakatanggap ng tamang benepisyo on time,” he said.
Another study conducted, by the same group, on public school students, showed that only 14% of the respondents learned well under the new learning system, while 66% to 86% said they learned less under either full online learning or blended learning, respectively.
With barely two weeks before the opening of classes, total enrollees is still only 35.1% at 9,197,265 as of Aug. 26, compared to the 26,227,022 enrollees last year.
“Kung hindi makapagtuturo ng maayos ang mga guro, hindi rin matututo ng maayos ang mga bata. Bakit pa nga naman gagastos ang mga magulang nila, lalo na ‘yung mga nawalan ng trabaho, para makapa-aral ang mga anak nila kung hindi rin lang sila matututo?” Marcos further noted.