MANILA, Philippines — Pointing out how the current school year has driven teachers to work 13 months straight, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said last Friday that the next school year should open no earlier than Sept. 13.
“It is already too much that teachers are made to work for 13 straight months in the current school year, and shortening their much-needed break after the taxing first year of distance learning is just plain abuse,” said ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio.
He said teachers deserve a much-needed break, especially considering that they do not receive leave credits so the rightful 80 days proportional vacation pay in a school year should be due them.
Public school teachers started preparing for the current school year in June 2020 and will work until the end of the fourth grading period on July 10, three months longer than the usual 10 months that they render in a regular school year.
Basilio said DepEd has to recompense teachers for the 77 days of overtime work due to the extended school year, asserting that the government as the employer of public school teachers should abide by labor laws.
“It is either they pay our teachers with 25 percent of daily pay for each day of overtime work, or convert such to more rest days, which is equivalent to 19 days. With this, opening of the next school year can be scheduled on Oct. 4,” he added.
Earlier, the Department of Education (DepEd) said the decision on when to open the next school year rests on President Duterte.
The agency said it will present various options for the President’s consideration, including the earlier plan to set the opening on Aug. 23, which will shorten the break from the usual two months to only six weeks.
In its statement, the ACT criticized DepEd for proposing a shorter break between the school years.
“It is very insensitive of the DepEd to treat our teachers like tireless machines or beasts of burden,” said Basilio.