/ 2 October 2020

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday, October 1, warned against piling too much workload on teachers that would heighten their stress and anxiety levels and possibly affect the quality of instruction in public schools.

More than 22 million learners enrolled for the school year 2020-2021, according to the Department of Education.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said teachers should be spared from a congested workload to prevent burnout amid the country’s shift to distance learning.

The senator said that teachers and principals are ‘multi-tasking’ ahead of the October 5 class opening.

Besides preparing learning materials that will be distributed to students, teachers and principals are also attending webinars and completing courses on different learning modalities.

In this connection, Gatchalian reiterated the need to conduct a Senate inquiry on the implementation of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers which seeks to improve the living and working conditions of teachers.

The Magna Carta mandates that public school teachers shall not render more than six hours of teaching in a day. They are entitled to additional compensation if their teaching load exceeds six hours or if they perform activities outside their normal duties.

“Even with these provisions in the Magna Carta, teachers are burdened with non-teaching tasks, even before the Covid19 pandemic hit the country,” Gatchalian noted.

According to the policy paper of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, teachers receive additional tasks on student guidance, budget, disaster response, and health.

They are also expected to participate in government programs such as mass immunization, deworming, feeding. They also render work during elections.

“Ang ating mga guro at punong-guro ay maituturing nating mga frontliners sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon sa kabila ng banta ng Covid19. Bahagi ng ating pangangalaga sa kanilang kapakanan ay ang panigurong hindi sila natatabunan ng napakaraming gawain. Kung sa simula pa lang ng klase ay pagod na ang ating mga guro, hindi magiging lubusang mabisa ang pagtuturo kung hindi sila nakatutok nang husto dito,” Gatchalian said.

“We are all witnesses to the many sacrifices of our teachers who have been struggling to adapt to the new normal way of teaching students through various modalities. They never stop in their efforts to reach out to all students to make sure that they will be onboard when classes open on October 5. We are proud of them!” he added.