/ 19 April 2022

MAJORITY of teachers in the National Capital Region said that internet connections in schools cannot support simultaneous online classes, a survey conducted by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers NCR union revealed.

The survey asked 9,254 teachers in Metro Manila if their schools’ internet connection can handle simultaneous users. Out of the number, 8,106 teachers responded “no.”

ACT NCR conducted the survey after the Department of Education issued a memorandum that mandated 100 percent of its workforce to report on-site.

Aside from internet issues, the survey participants revealed that health risks and transportation is among their top concern.

ACT NCR Union leaders demanded a dialogue with DepEd officials to tackle their concerns.

“It’s no secret that our public schools are in dire conditions, especially after being on lockdown for more than two years. Many of our schools don’t even have enough supply of clean running water, sapat na internet pa kaya para sa, halimbawa, 100 plus na guro kada eskwelahan?” the group said.

“Some of our teachers reported to have had to resort to asynchronous digital classes instead of holding online synchronous classes in order to consume lower internet bandwidths, which was all their school internet can handle. In other cases, teachers have LGU-provided data allocations which they can use to hold online classes; however, they reported of having ‘dead spots’ within the school premises, forcing multiple teachers who—all simultaneously holding their own classes—to share small areas with enough cell reception,” ACT NCR Union President Vladimer Quetua said.

ACT also argued that schools are not ready to host teachers employing distance learning modalities, neither are they equipped with sufficient health measures to protect employees from the Covid19 pandemic.

It said that 31.6% of those surveyed said that the schools will not provide hygiene kits to teachers while 36.7% were unsure if the school has any plan to do so.

“Forcing a blanket policy among teachers—and without any prior consultation—unnecessarily puts teachers in more challenging conditions, without any guarantee of support from DepEd, and while further impeding education delivery. The last two years have forced us to adapt to the pandemic: we have procured internet connections at home, we have setup a system for handling multiple learning modalities for our students, only for it to be completely disregarded and disrupted by this new order that was implemented without enough thought and preparation. DepEd officials are terribly blind to our conditions and deaf to our justified calls,” Quetua said.