Implement 6-hour workday nationwide, free teachers from administrative tasks
The teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) renews its call to implement the six-hour workday of teachers and liberate them from administrative tasks.
Public school teachers are not required to spend the whole eight hours in school. This was clarified through a Civil Service Commission (CSC) resolution as early as the year 2008. In the said resolution, the CSC recognizes the peculiarity of the roles and tasks of public school teachers- entirely different from those of other government employees. While teachers are not exempted from the eight-hour workday rule for state workers, we are required to stay within the school premises for only six hours a day.
According to Magna Carta for Public School Teachers:
“Any teacher engaged in actual classroom instruction shall not be required to render more than six hours of actual classroom teaching a day, so scheduled as to give him time for the preparation and correction of exercises and other work incidental to his normal teaching duties: Provided, however, That where the exigencies of the service so require, any teacher may be required to render more than six hours but not exceeding eight hours of actual classroom teaching a day upon payment of additional compensation at the same rate as his regular remuneration plus at least twenty-five percent of his basic pay.” (Section 13 of RA 4670 Magna Carta for Teachers)
Thus, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) since year 2006 has closely coordinated with the DepEd having in mind the implementation of the said provision is executed in a manner that is most favorable to our teachers. This was particularly discussed during the first dialogue with then Secretary Jesli A. Lapus in August of 2006, which resulted to a resounding position of the DepEd that was formally brought to the CSC.
In a letter-petition to the CSC, Lapus said:
“Considering that the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670) is a law enacted by Congress for the welfare and protection of Public School Teachers nationwide, it is quite ironic if we interpret the law in a manner that is prejudicial and disadvantageous to their interest.” (Letter to CSC, September 2007)
In response, the CSC on January 29, 2008 ruled that teachers may only perform six hour-work within the school. The two hours needed to complete the eight-hour workday may be spent outside or anywhere convenient to teachers. The resolution further mandated the DepEd to provide pertinent guidelines for its implementation.
The CSC said:
“The Commission further recognizes that the work of public school teachers is distinct if not vital from the rest of other government employees. As the main contributor in molding the minds of the country’s most valuable resources, its people, they are expected to perform with utmost commitment, effectiveness and competency. This maybe done if their needs are responded to in a manner that is most favorable to them but still within the parameters of existing rules.” (CSC Resolution 080096)
Thus, the DepEd Memorandum 291 was signed on June 13, 2008, a copy of which was handed by Secretary Lapus to TDC Chairperson Benjo Basas the following Monday, June 16 during the group’s mass action held in DepEd. Its issuance was very much anticipated by the teachers and the media and was repeatedly tackled in news programs during the first week of opening of classes. News about the said memorandum landed practically in all papers- broadsheet and tabloid, on June 17, 2008. Some of the interviews with Sec. Lapus clearly state the DepEd’s basis and intention for issuing the memorandum like this one which appeared in the Philippine Star:
“After 42 years, the DepEd will now implement the six-hour actual teaching load a day for our teachers as provided in the Magna Carta. The move of the DepEd and CSC will allow our public school teachers to have more time to innovate and enhance classroom teaching.” (Phil. Star, June 17, 2008 by Rainier Allan Ronda)
And another one from the Philippine Daily Inquirer:
“We are hoping this will lead to a better quality of teaching. Now they can do at home what they can’t do in the schools.” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 17, 2008 by Beverly Natividad)