Gatchalian: DepEd needs more personnel to lessen teachers' working hours

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2020 03:22 PM | Updated as of Oct 29 2020 03:56 PM

Teachers compile learning modules after a ceremonial turnover and distribution of Learning Continuity Packages for Manila public school teachers and students at the Aurora A. Quezon Elementary School in Manila on Aug. 26, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA – Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called for the hiring of more non-teaching personnel at the Department of Education (DepEd) to help reduce the working hours of teachers.

In a Senate hearing tackling the implementation of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, the senator said the government must allocate more funds for the DepEd to relieve teachers from non-teaching responsibilities.

Section 13 of Republic Act 4670 states that teachers “shall not be required to render more than 6 hours of actual classroom teaching a day,” and that those who will render overtime work must be compensated.

"We really need to address itong (this) 6 hours requirement for teaching because this impacts also learner outcomes,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture.

“If teachers are overburdened with non-teaching activities, talagang mauubos ‘yung oras nila sa ibang mga (their hours are spent on other) activities other than teaching."

Gatchalian noted that the Philippines was the number one country in the world with most annual teaching hours for primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education.

According to a report from Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), teachers in the Philippines logged 1,218 annual teaching hours. It is followed by the US and Chile, while their counterparts in Europe were only recording less than 700 hours.

Sen. Imee Marcos said she supports the proposal.

"I feel strongly about this. It really enriches the experience of the children… and of course, it liberates teachers from non-teaching chores,” she said at the hearing.

Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said they had already come up with the manpower requirements. 

“We are also crafting guidelines on the distribution of teaching load. This is part of the work-life balance tool, which we will be issuing soon,” he said.

During the hearing, Fidel Fababier, secretary-general of Action and Solidarity for the Empowerment of Teachers (ASSERT), urged DepEd to implement the 6-hour workday for teachers.

But DepEd maintained that teachers are not exempted from the 8-hour workday in government, according to a Civil Service Commission (CSC) Resolution No. 080096 issued in 2008.

Under the CSC Resolution, teachers are required to render six hours of actual classroom teaching per day within the school premises, while the remaining two hours may be utilized for doing teaching-related tasks outside the school.

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