MANILA, Philippines – A teachers’ group on Sunday, April 10, asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to recall its new order requiring teachers to physically report to office, even those doing remote teaching.
“We call on the DepEd to halt the implementation of DM 29, Series of 2022 and start the consultation in the field. We are not against physical reporting, in fact gusto na natin ng [we also want] face-to-face classes. But a 100% physical reporting for modular and online tasks simply defeats logic,” Teachers’ Dignity Coalition chairperson Benjo Basas said.
The DepEd order No. 29, s. 2022 or Work Arrangements in the Department of Education During the Imposition of Alert Level 1 System for COVID 19 Response, orders the 100% onsite reporting of teaching and non-teaching in areas under Alert Level 1.
The issuance also revised the previous order on alternative work arrangements during COVID-19 pandemic, which stated that work-from-home set-up was the default arrangement for classroom teachers regardless of the quarantine categories in the locality.
“Teachers themselves are eager to go back to normal classes, but unless it is already both safe and practicable, we could lose the gains we have achieved in the last two years and be thrown back several steps, and this time, with much less assets at our disposal,” Basas said.
Under Alert Level 1 or what the government considers as the “new normal,” establishments and public transportation are allowed to be fully operational. There are also no restrictions on the movement of people from different age groups, though this is subject to specific rules that may vary among local government units. (READ: LIST: Metro Manila, other areas stay under Alert Level 1 until April 15)
The TDC appealed to DepEd to recall its order based on the following grounds:
- No consultation with the teachers in the field took place on the matter;
- Schools have properly functioning systems that the 100% onsite reporting would only disrupt;
- Transportation is still unreasonably costly in many parts of the country;
- Internet connectivity in many schools is still either non-existent or intermittent;
- Many schools have not yet been sufficiently prepared for the reopening of face-to-face learning; and
- Only a very small number of learners participated in the expanded phase of limited face-to-face classes.
Latest data from the DepEd showed that there are 13,692 public and private schools holding limited face-to-face classes. This is just a quarter of some 60,000 basic education schools in the country.
As COVID-19 cases continue to drop, more schools have been allowed to hold limited in-person classes. The DepEd has expressed optimism that all schools in the country would eventually transition to limited face-to-face classes in school year 2022-2023. – Rappler.com