While the Department of Education (DepEd) is set to release a “workload balancing tool” to address teachers’ workload issues, Senator Win Gatchalian bats for long-term solutions that include digitalization and the hiring of enough non-teaching personnel in schools.
Gatchalian has been urging the DepEd to adopt a proposal from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) to conduct studies on teacher workload, which will help rationalize their job and allow them to allocate more time for teaching.
The state think tank flagged in 2019 that the quality and delivery of education is affected by the teachers’ administrative and student support roles, as well as their participation in government programs like mass immunization, deworming, and election.
To help streamline teachers’ workflow and processes, including the creation of lesson plans and the filing of reports, Gatchalian also proposes to accelerate digital transformation in the basic education sector. Gatchalian filed the Digital Transformation in Basic Education Act (Senate Bill No. 383) to promote efficiency in delivering basic education services.
He cited the example of Valenzuela City, which distributed laptops installed with the #VCGuroAko App. It is an online portal that can make it easier for teachers to accomplish their tasks, including the uploading and sharing of documents and the generation of reports.
Gatchalian has also called on the administration to fully implement the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (Republic Act No. 4670). During the 18th Congress, Gatchalian led a Senate panel review of the Magna Carta, which revealed that DepEd is non-compliant with three sections of the law: the provisions on medical examination and treatment, salary increase upon retirement, and the submission of the annual budgetary requirement to implement the law.
The Magna Carta provides that public school teachers required in actual classroom instruction should not render more than six hours of actual classroom teaching in a day.
“Isa sa mga hakbang upang maingat natin ang kalidad ng edukasyon na natatanggap ng ating mga kabataan ay tiyaking may sapat na panahon ang ating mga guro sa pagtuturo. Ngunit hindi natin ito magagawa, kung nananatiling pasanin ng mga guro ang iba pang mga gawain na wala namang kinalaman sa aktwal na pagtuturo,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
Gatchalian also plans to seek amendments to the Magna Carta, noting that the 56-year-old law should be more responsive to present challenges hounding teachers.