Educators renew call for higher pay on World Teachers' Day

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Educators renew call for higher pay on World Teachers' Day
A teacher uses hand sanitizer on a student on the first day of in-person classes after years-long Covid-19 lockdowns at Pedro Guevara Elementary School in Manila on August 22, 2022.
AFP / Maria Tan

MANILA, Philippines — On World Teachers’ Day, overworked but underpaid educators in the Philippines renewed their call to the government to upgrade their salaries and ease their heavy workloads.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers urged authorities to increase the entry pay rate of public school educators to Salary Grade 15 (around P35,000) and instructors in higher education to Salary Grade 16 (around P38,000).

ACT also called for an upgrade of the minimum salary of private school teachers to 30,000.

Teachers in the country spend money — often out of their pockets — to fix classrooms and provide the needs of students despite their meager income. 

The group also demanded to lessen the workloads of teachers, give additional compensation for work done outside of regular duties, provide monthly internet and annual cash allowances, implement evidence-based education recovery plans, and double the budget for the department of education.

“We will not be able to propel education recovery without resolving the teachers’ problems on [overworking], low salaries, and lack of government support,” ACT said.

“We will not be able to negate the impacts of the pandemic to education if the government does not effect bold and game-changing measures that can alter the course of our declining educational system,” it added

The Department of Education stands to receive P710 billion under the proposed 2023 national budget. The agency is seeking a P150-million confidential fund, which the agency said will be used to protect its personnel and learners. 

READ: DepEd: Special education funds were 'excluded' from budget 'despite earnest efforts'

Red-tagging of educators

The Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) meanwhile condemned the budget cuts faced by state universities and colleges as well as the red-tagging of educators.

“Teachers — especially in higher education — are being red-tagged and forced out of employment for upholding critical thinking in the classroom,” CONTEND said. It is an organization of progressive faculty members of the University of the Philippines.

“Books and other information sources labeled as ‘subversive’ are continually purged out of libraries, publishing platforms, and syllabi,” it added.

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino earlier issued a memorandum to pull out several books from classrooms and libraries for allegedly being “anti-government.” 

READ: Public school teachers to get P1,000 incentive

‘Important drivers’

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in a message that teachers are “important drivers of our nation.”

“Today, we honor our dear educators across the country for ensuring our youth’s holistic development as they aspire to be agents of change within their respective communities and beyond,” the chief executive said.

“I trust that, with the help of our teachers, our country will grow stronger with every Filipino becoming more capable of building a better future for all,” he added.

Vice President Sara Duterte, concurrently education chief, joined First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos in celebrating the National Teachers’ Day in Abra province.

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