DepEd OKs 30-day rest for teachers sans volunteer work

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
DepEd OKs 30-day rest for teachers sans volunteer work
Kindergarten students introduce themselves during the first day of classes at Pinyahan Elementary School in Quezon City on August 29,2023.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Teachers will have a 30-day rest without any Department of Education (DepEd)-mandated volunteer work when the school year closes, including Brigada Eskwela and summer learning camps, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said yesterday.

Addressing teachers during the opening rites for National Teachers’ Month in Tagbilaran City, Duterte noted that the DepEd approved the 30-day break for this year’s school calendar, during which teachers are free to spend the break without work.

“All activities with voluntary participation is scheduled after the said 30-day break,” she said.

To properly enforce the break, the Vice President disclosed that she would release a memo to regional and division school offices and school heads that they will be held accountable if any teacher is made to work during the 30-day rest period.

“They must answer if there is any complaint from a teacher during the 30-day break,” she said.

Teachers have been decrying continued work to fulfill requirements imposed by the DepEd that have taken over what should be their mandatory break, including the accomplishment of their portfolio for the Results-Based Performance Management System, which is used for their performance evaluation.

Aside from this, they also had to participate in Brigada Eskwela and enrollment procedures for the succeeding school year, as well as the voluntary National Learning Camp that the DepEd started implementing earlier this year.

The development, however, only partially affirms the 60-day mandatory school break after an academic year.

Nonetheless, Duterte assured teachers that the Marcos administration would be working on further reducing the administrative load of teachers.

Salary hike

As this developed, groups of teachers are calling on the government to raise their salaries to demonstrate the administration’s commitment to improving educators’ living and working conditions instead of “an oversupply of platitudes from ghostwriters paid for by politicians using taxpayers’ money” during National Teachers’ Month.

“We are going to hear, yet again, sweet words praising teachers for their sacrifices and heroic deeds. Perhaps, a little promise here and there will be sprinkled, as tradition dictates. Sad, yes. But even sadder is the fact that, as always, many teachers will once again naively believe what they hear and hope for better things to come,” Teachers’ Dignity Coalition said in a statement.

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