‘Free teachers from non-teaching tasks to ensure quality education’ – ACT

Teachers from Butuan Elementary School joining the protest to scrap oppressive policies. (Photo from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Facebook page.)

“Teachers are made to work like tireless machines stripped off of dignity in exchange for meager salaries.”

Related story: Heavy workloads taking a toll on teachers

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Philippines criticized the Department of Education’s defense of the implementation of the Results-Based Performance Management System (RPMS) saying that it is another neoliberal framework that exploits teachers.

In a statement, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that the implementation of the RPMS “reflects DepEd’s high regard to monitoring performance at the level of the individual employee and the organization/agency, which is essential in ensuring the delivery of quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all.”

But for ACT, this policy that they dubbed as “Regulasyong Pahirap kay Ma’am at Sir (Difficult Regulation for Ma’am and Sir) only adds to the many tasks of public school teachers.

Joselyn Martinez, newly-elected ACT chairperson, said there is no better way to help teachers to improve the delivery of quality education but to liberate them from numerous tasks that the DepEd is requiring them.

“Our primary duty is to teach and yet we are burdened with paperwork to comply with the RPMS. Is it not defeating the purpose of delivering quality education?” said Martinez in an interview with Bulatlat.

The RPMS measures the performance of public school teachers and non-teaching personnel. This policy was first implemented under President Benigno Aquino III, which ACT opposed. The RPMS also has become the basis for the government employees’ Performance-based Bonus (PBB).

Read: State of Teachers under Aquino: more work, less benefit, and a static salary

‘Private business profit-driven principles’

According to ACT, the government’s adoption of the results-based management framework is borne out of the policy recommendation by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) called as Results-Based Management Framework Business Model (RBMFBM).

ACT called it as “an outright domination of private business profit-driven principles and methodologies in government operations.”

The said framework has three phases: “first is investment in productive capacity by the supplier, which may be government or, in the case of public–private partnerships (PPPs) and contracted service delivery, the private sector.”

(Photo from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Facebook page.)

“Second phase is combining inputs to produce outputs—including human resources, consumables, and capital—that are supplied to, and consumed by, the public in the third phase. The third phase is setting operational/technical efficiency as a major government financial management objective, which it defines as ‘obtaining the best value for money; providing cost-effective goods and services.’”

In the public school teachers’ case, their benefits like bonus, became dependent on the evaluation of their performance.

Read: ‘Grim Christmas’ | Public school teachers demand release of bonus

“In using this framework, the RPMS extracts and exploits teachers’ mental and manual labor without regard to their rights and welfare, just as how capitalistic production exploit workers for optimum profit,” Martinez said in a statement.

“Teachers are made to work like tireless machines stripped off of dignity in exchange for meager salaries,” she added.

ACT Teachers Party Rep. Antonio Tinio meanwhile said such “systems for performance-related pay, like the RPMS have only resulted in cutbacks on the benefits of personnel and continues to reject the demand for decent salaries.”

Read: Public school teachers protest cut in bonus

Addressing the gap in public basic education system

ACT emphasized that there is a need to address the massive gap in the basic education that can ensure the delivery of quality education like hiring non-teaching personnel to reduce teachers’ clerical work.

Tinio said as of 2017 there is only one non-teaching staff to support 18 teachers in all the operations of the school. In a nationwide scale, there are only 10,917 non-teaching personnel and 27,367 administrative and support staff hired by DepEd nationwide, in comparison with the 687,229 teachers.

The DepEd also suffers budget cuts in the 2019 proposed national budget; it was slashed by P51.8 billion ($960 million). The supposed budget for building new classrooms was reduced by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) by 67 percent or P34.7 billion ($643 million) for 2019 from this year’s budget of P105 billion ($1.9 billion).

Lesser classrooms means congestion of the existing classrooms or conducting classes in makeshift classrooms as the population of students in public schools are increasing every year.

ACT Teachers Party Rep. France Castro also said that teachers compensate for the lack of available funds, materials and trainings needed for the implementation of the K to 12 program. However there was no significant increase in the teachers’ salary.

Read: Year in, year out | Public school teachers put up with school woes

Castro said this situation, along with the new taxes brought about by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, as well as price hike of utilities “aggravated the long-standing crisis of underfunding of public schools’ maintenance and operating expenses.”

ACT Teachers Party has filed House Resolution 1887 to conduct an inquiry on the status of the implementation of the K to 12 Program.

Martinez reiterated that the “RPMS does not help teachers improve the delivery of quality basic education.”

“It does nothing to solve the most basic challenges and impediments that teachers face in doing their jobs. On the contrary, it pushes mentors farther away from performing their primary duty, which is to teach,” she added.

They call for the junking of the RPMs and urged the DepEd and the Duterte government to listen to the voices from the ground.

“To make good on the commitment made by the Philippine state to uplift the status of teachers for the objective of quality education, we implore the Duterte government to heed our demands,” said Martinez.

Among their demands are; salary increase, free teachers from non-teaching duties, create items for education support personnel, fill up shortages in classrooms, facilities, equipment, and materials, allocate higher maintenance and other operating expenses budget, among others. ()

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