School Admin staff fear overwork and consider resigning
Public schools are currently in a state of anticipation as they prepare for the full implementation of a policy designed to relieve teachers of their administrative duties by the end of March. This policy change is eagerly awaited, as it promises to allow teachers to focus more on their primary role of educating students. However, amidst this optimism, there is a significant concern that some schools might face challenges, particularly with the potential loss of administrative officers (AOs) during the transition. These concerns were brought to light by a principal in the Calabarzon region, who reported to the Second Congressional Commission on Education (Edcom 2) that the workload increase for AOs could lead to resignations.
To mitigate the issue of overburdened AOs, a “clustering” strategy has been proposed. This approach involves assigning administrative officers to handle the tasks of more than one school, effectively sharing resources to manage the increased workload. Despite this strategy, there are apprehensions about its feasibility, especially for schools that are geographically isolated or face other logistical challenges. Michael Poa, a spokesperson for the Department of Education (DepEd), acknowledged these concerns, stating that while clustering is an option, alternative arrangements would be made for schools where this approach is impractical.
The root of this policy shift is detailed in Department Order No. 002, signed by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte. This order aims to redefine administrative responsibilities, categorizing them as tasks not directly related to teaching and learning, thus lifting a significant burden off teachers’ shoulders. A transition period of 60 days has been established to ensure a smooth handover of administrative duties to the appropriate personnel, with DepEd committing to provide necessary financial support for adjustments.
However, the implementation of this policy faces financial hurdles. Reports indicate that some schools allocate a substantial portion of their budgets to utilities, limiting their ability to afford additional administrative staff. The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) has highlighted that the current plan to hire around 10,000 non-teaching staff in the next two years is insufficient for the country’s more than 47,000 public schools. They argue for the need to hire more support personnel, such as guidance counselors and health workers, to fully alleviate teachers from non-teaching obligations.
This evolving scenario presents a complex challenge for the education sector, which is striving to find a balance between administrative responsibilities and teaching duties. The initiative to relieve teachers of non-teaching tasks is commendable, but its success hinges on strategic planning, adequate funding, and a unified effort from all parties involved. As schools navigate this transitional phase, the ultimate goal remains clear: to enhance the educational experience for students by allowing teachers to concentrate on what they do best—teaching.