Provide accommodations to public school teachers who need it the most-- Angara
Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the provision of living facilities for public school teachers, especially those who have to travel long distances to get to their schools.
“For years we have heard of stories of our teachers who have to travel far and oftentimes through rough terrain and even turbulent waters just to reach the schools where they teach. This is the type of dedication to work that we must recognize and give proper attention to at all times,” Angara said.
“Not only is the travel to work very challenging, but also dangerous. We have teachers who need to ride boats to get to the schools situated in remote areas and sometimes these vessels capsize. This would not be an issue if they have the option of living within or near their schools,” Angara added.
Now with the COVID-19 pandemic where face-to-face classes are prohibited, many teachers still have to take perilous journeys to deliver the learning modules to their students in far flung areas.
The senator noted that even city dwellers go through their own challenges with their daily commute to work where traffic congestion takes up so much of their time and energy, which could be better spent in the classrooms.
In a February 2019 report, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies took note of how public school teachers are chronically overworked as a result of their teaching duties and the multitude of nonteaching tasks that are given to them on a regular basis.
New York-based ThoughtCo, a premier reference site on education content, also found that a teacher who loses as little as five minutes of instructional minutes a day due to inefficiencies wastes 15 hours of opportunity over the course of a 180-day school year.
To address these issues being faced by our teachers, Angara filed Senate Bill 2317 or the Teachers’ Home in School Act, which seeks to provide public school teachers with “livable and humane” living facilities within the schools or at the nearest possible location to the schools where they teach.
Covered under the bill are public school teachers who are experiencing difficulty in commuting to their place of work or are deployed in public schools located in remote or isolated areas.
The Department of Education, together with the Department of Public Works and Highways, is tasked to construct the living facilities, the funding of which will be sourced from the existing budget of the DepEd.
Additional funding may be sourced from the Special Education Fund arising from the real property tax collected by the local government units where the living facilities will be situated.
“Given a choice I am sure many of our teachers would opt to live within the school premises especially if they live far from where they teach. Our teachers are essential to the development of our children and the nation. We must strive to provide them with as much assistance as possible in recognition of the sacrifices they make,” Angara said.