MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday hoped for more resources and mandate to help ease the burden of Filipino teachers, some of whom already spending their own money to print modules for distance learning students.
While the Department of Education (DepEd) has been assisting teachers with their needs, some teachers are forced to shoulder the costs of printing self-learning modules (SLMs) or buying internet load, said Robredo.
"Even before the beginning of classes, printing modules can be a challenge kasi ang pondo talaga (because the funding really) is simply not enough," she said during the National Teachers' Day celebration of DepEd's Bicol region office.
"I wish I had more resources, I wish I had more mandate para matabangan kamo pero with what little we have, handang-handa po kami pagianon an saindong dara-dara," she added.
(I wish I had more resources, I wish I had more mandate to help you. But with what little we have, we're ready to ease your burdens.)
Robredo recommended further training for teachers and urged the government to invest in technology for education.
"While modular training is good for now, we need to modernize and prepare for digitization," she said.
The vice president also reiterated her support for the conduct of face-to-face or in-person classes in areas without COVID-19 community transmission.
'Clarify teachers' duties'
Meanwhile, the Teachers' Dignity Coalition called on the DepEd to clarify the duties of teachers in distance learning as some educators have been burdened with the task of printing, sorting out and delivering SLMs.
"Kung tutuusin ay hindi trabaho ng mga guro ang mag-print, mag-sort, at mag-distribute ng modules," said TDC Chairperson Benjo Basas.
(It's not the duty of teachers to print, sort and distribute modules.)
The group also called on DepEd to strictly implement its order on alternative work arrangements.
While the DepEd previously said teachers are not required to physically report to schools and offices, this does not seem to be the case on the ground, Basas said.
"Bakit parang mas marami pa rin ang pinapapasok sa kani-kanilang mga paaralan at pinagagawa ng mga gawaing puwede namang gawin sa bahay, o kaya’y pinagagawa ng mga trabahong hindi naman dapat sa kanila?" he said.
(Why does it feel like there are still many teachers that are asked to report to their schools and do tasks that can be done at home, or do things that are not their duties?)
Last Monday, public schools resumed classes through distance learning, which was implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some 24.8 million learners have so far enrolled in basic education this year, according to DepEd data.