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Teachers: We were like professional beggars, solicitor general

Teachers: We were like professional beggars, solicitor general

Some public school teachers have taken to calling themselves “solicitors general” or “professional beggars,” as they are left with little choice but to seek donations in cash or in kind from students’ parents, alumni, or volunteers to prepare classrooms for the Aug. 22 opening of classes.

But the Department of Education reminded school heads about the ban on the collection of money from volunteers for school maintenance and classroom repairs.

“Brigada Eskwela is anchored on the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ and has been the prime mover of volunteerism and community involvement,” according to DepEd.

The statement drew ironic smiles from members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).

“It’s funny because, ironically, they say that solicitation is not allowed but that is what actually happens during Brigada Eskwela,” Ruby Bernardo, the group’s secretary.

“When DepEd released [that statement] we, teachers, just laughed because, on the ground, we call ourselves solicitors general,” she said.

The lack of resources leaves school teachers to seek help from friends, parents and alumni, Bernardo said.

“Even if we shell out our personal money, it’s still not enough to have our classrooms repainted,” she added.

As a result, teachers have become “professional beggars,” ACT chairperson Vladimer Quetua said.