6 hours workday for teachers pushed for nationwide implementation
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) reminded the Department of Education (DepEd) to reiterate the policy on working hours with uniformity as it received reports from the field that some teachers are required to render teaching tasks for more than six hours or stay and work in the school beyond eight hours. The group said that these schools violate the existing policies of the DepEd and call on the DepEd management to act swiftly and order the field officials to abide by the rules set forth by the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, CSC Resolutions and several DepEd issuances.
“Nasa fourth week pa lang tayo mula nung nagbukas ang klase pero sobrang pagod na ang nararamdaman ng mga guro. Hindi na magkandaugaga sa napakamaring paperwork, reports at online tasks maliban pa sa face-to-face classes,” said Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson.
Basas said that many teachers have reported excessive workload and longer hours of teaching worse than the pre-pandemic situation.
“Malinaw naman ang polisiya ng DepEd alinsunod sa resolusyon ng CSC sa pagpapatupad ng Magna Carta, hindi dapat lalampas ng anim na oras ang turo ng bawat guro at ang dalawang oras na laan sa paghahanda sa klase at iba pang gawain ay maaaring iuwi o dalhin kahit saan. Pero bakit inaabot ng siyam na oras ang mga guro sa paaralan, gayong dapat ay makauwi na sila matapos ang anim na oras lamang?” Basas explained.
As early as 2008, the CSC Resolution 080096 has ordered the DepEd to release guidelines on the “Six-Hour Workday” or the requirement to stay in their school for only six hours, the two hours intended to accomplish other tasks incidental to normal teaching duties may be brought home or anywhere convenient to them. However, the succeeding DepEd leadership failed to implement the resolution despite the two subsequent issuances from Secretary Jesli Lapus in 2008 and 2009, DepEd Memorandum 291 and DeEd Order 16, respectively. Until now, many teachers are forced to stay in their respective schools for 8 hours or more, even without classes or official functions. This issue has been a perennial problem in most schools and has always been the main cause of conflicts in schools between teachers and administrators.
“Based on the existing rules, teachers should be entitled to additional compensation once they are compelled to render tasks beyond their normal duties, but it seems that the violations are the new norms. The policy should be uniform and applicable to all schools and not just in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and CALABARZON or in areas where teachers are brave enough to engage the school management.” Basas added.
According to reports, the primary reason for these violations is the shortage of teaching personnel. Thus, the school would either resort to higher class sizes that lead to congestion or longer work hours for teachers.
“Ito na nga ang problema, pinagmadali ang mga guro na bumalik sa eskuwela, ni hindi na halos binigyan ng bakasyon tapos isasabak pa sa trabahong wala na halos pahinga. Lagi na lang bang isasakripisyo ang mga guro? Kung may shortage ng teachers, ang dapat gawin ay mag-hire ng mga bagong teachers batay sa pangangailangan sa field at huwag doblehin ang trabaho ng mga guro para makatipid,” Basas exclaimed.
The TDC is expecting a clear-cut policy from the Office of Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte to clarify the implementation of working hours.
“Umaasa kami na ito ay mapag-uusapan ng DepEd management at ng mga guro. Sana sa pagkakatong ito ay maipatupad na sa buong bansa bilang pagkilala rin naman sa kapakanan ng mga guro lalo ngayong nagdiriwang tayo ng National Teachers Month,” Basas ended.
Basas said, his group is willing to hold a dialogue with DepEd for this specific matter.