Teachers urged for New DepEd Secretary
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), a group representing teachers and education personnel, has expressed their desire for a new secretary at the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines. They are dissatisfied with the current secretary, Vice President Sara Duterte, due to her perceived inability to effectively address various issues in the education sector.
Released on Christmas Day, the ACT’s “12 Wishes” highlight the main concerns and demands of the teachers and school employees. They are calling for a new DepEd secretary who understands and prioritizes the needs of teachers and students. The ACT criticizes the current leadership for not bringing substantial changes in the education sector and for the continued low and unsustainable salaries of teachers and school staff.
Teachers in the Philippines are also concerned about the poor performance of students in international assessments, like the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). They blame the current leadership for not adequately addressing these issues.
The ACT’s wishlist includes not just a leadership change but also improvements in working conditions and wages. They are asking for higher wages for both teaching and non-teaching staff, noting that over 90 percent of public school teachers do not earn a living wage despite heavy workloads. Additionally, the group demands a 77-day overtime pay, an increase in the teaching supplies allowance, full payment of Service Recognition Incentives, official sick leave, the abolition of certain limits and systems that they find burdensome, and reforms in the Government Service Insurance System. They also advocate for legislation allowing teachers to optionally retire at the age of 56.
These demands reflect a broader call for transformative changes in the education sector, focusing on both the welfare of educators and the quality of education in the Philippines.