Teach­ers, ed­u­ca­tors: The mod­ern day he­roes

Palawan Daily News - - Editorial -

As we cel­e­brate the World Teach­ers’ Day, we face the great­est ques­tion – how are our mod­ern day he­roes do­ing in­side the four walls of their class­rooms?

We all know that our teach­ers have played big roles to form us, to im­part on us learn­ings that could make us bet­ter in­di­vid­u­als as to who we are now.

They help us achieve our am­bi­tions and ca­reer in life. A good teacher helps us to be­come good in­di­vid­u­als and cit­i­zens. Teach­ers know that stu­dents are the fu­ture of the coun­try. So the de­vel­op­ment of fu­ture of the na­tion is in the hands of the teach­ers.

But how about their wel­fare? Are they paid cor­rectly? Do they have a lot of work­load?

Ac­cord­ing to UNESCO, World Teach­ers’ Day 2018 will mark the 70th an­niver­sary of the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights (1948) that rec­og­nizes ed­u­ca­tion as a key fun­da­men­tal right and es­tab­lishes an en­ti­tle­ment to free com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion, en­sur­ing in­clu­sive and eq­ui­table ac­cess for all chil­dren.

The theme for this year, “The right to ed­u­ca­tion means the right to a qual­i­fied teacher,” will re­mind the global com­mu­nity that the right to ed­u­ca­tion can­not be achieved with­out the right to trained and qual­i­fied teach­ers.

At present, a lot of chal­lenges are be­ing faced by the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor, not only here in the Philip­pines, but around the globe. There is a short­age of teach­ers. And un­der­paid teach­ers, as well, es­pe­cially in pri­vate com­pa­nies.

Fur­ther­more, UNESCO said that there are ap­prox­i­mately 264 mil­lion chil­dren and youth still out of school around the world. In or­der to reach the 2030 Ed­u­ca­tion Goals of uni­ver­sal pri­mary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, coun­tries need to re­cruit al­most 69 mil­lion new teach­ers. This ‘teacher gap’ is more pro­nounced among pop­u­la­tions that are con­sid­ered vul­ner­a­ble, such as girls, chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties, refugee and mi­grant chil­dren, or poor chil­dren liv­ing in ru­ral or re­mote ar­eas.

In the Philip­pines, just re­cently, the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion faced se­ri­ous is­sues on the work­load of teach­ers as there were re­ported sui­cides of school teach­ers due to pres­sure in school re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing the amount of tasks af­forded to them. But DepEd is quick to de­fend it­self that these re­quire­ments aimed to fur­ther im­prove its re­port­ing sys­tem and not in any way linked to sui­cide.

This week, just on the night be­fore the World Teacher’s Day cel­e­bra­tion, DepEd Sec­re­tary Leonor Bri­ones con­firmed that there is no in­crease in the salary of the pub­lic school teach­ers due to bud­getary con­straints. And if there is an in­crease, it would mean ad­di­tional taxes to be im­posed to tax­pay­ers. The plight now of 800,000 pub­lic school teach­ers would de­pend on how DepEd takes good care of them – en­sur­ing that their wel­fare is prop­erly ad­dressed and that their so­cial and men­tal health is­sues are well taken care of.

As we give them the recog­ni­tion of their hard labors, sac­ri­fices, and ef­forts to make us bet­ter in­di­vid­u­als, our teach­ers de­serve to be ac­knowl­edged and given more im­por­tance. It is not only this time of the year where we cel­e­brate it, but in each and sin­gle day that we meet and en­counter them.

Palawan me­dia tour at Mala­canang Palace with Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte (Cen­ter) and SAP Bong Go ( 9th from the left).

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