A party-list congressman who represents teachers on Friday slammed the reported plan of the Department of Education to extend online classes to up to eight hours per school day in order to make up for the lost number of school days during the lockdowns.
“Policies such as these will do more harm than good for the welfare and well-being of teachers, students and their parents. The education department should be reminded that both teachers and the students are not robots that should be subjected to 8 long hours of online classes amid this pandemic,” Assistant Minority Leader France Castro said.
“What percentage of the youth can attend online classes? How many among them have Internet connection? How much will the parents and teachers spend in order to comply with eight hours of online instruction? These are few of the questions that DepEd should answer before issuing statements about policies to be imposed when classes open,” Castro, the nominee of the party-list group ACT Teachers said.
“Amid the pandemic, the Department of Education should be sensitive to plight of most families, especially now that the unemployment rate is at a record high of 45.5 percent,” Castro added.
“If even teachers have been having a hard time on the access to a quality and reliable Internet connection, then students from less fortunate backgrounds are worse off. The families of these students barely make enough for daily subsistence, how can they be expected to afford Internet access?”
“DepEd should also be reminded that teachers can only be given a maximum of six hours teaching time, while the remaining two hours is to be spent on other teaching-related activities such as preparation of lesson plans, school activities, checking of outputs, research, trainings, among others. Excess time for longer teaching time shall have an equivalent compensation of a regular hourly rate plus a 25% premium on the same,” Castro added.
“Before even suggesting policies such as eight-hour online classes, DepEd must first provide the basic needs of teachers and students for a safe and quality access to education amid the pandemic,” Castro also said.