By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — A Philosophy teacher at the Saint Louis University (SLU)said government should ensure new employment for teachers who will be displaced by the implementation of the K12 program.
“It is not our fault that we lose our jobs because of a government program so the government should take responsibility. The burden of finding a new job should not be on us, displaced teachers,” Ronald Tagaoa of SLU said.
Taggaoa, who is also a member of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said he will inevitably lose his job together with 415 contractual teachers and 184 regular teachers in SLU alone due to the implementation of the K12 program of the Department of Education (DepEd).
This August, there would be no incoming first year students in colleges and universities all over the country because this year is the opening for the Grade 11 of the K12 program. In 2017, the first Grade 12 will open.
Taggaoa said he is teaching Philosophy under the general education curriculum which caters to first year and second year students. By 2018 there will be no second year and third year students. He added that by 2019 there would be no third year and fourth year students. “This means the teaching load will be minimal until 2020 therefore colleges and universities would be needing fewer teachers and would inevitably retrench many,” he said.
Taggaoa further said that the absence of incoming first year and second year students is not the only reason college teachers would lose their jobs. He said that the new general education curriculum designed by the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to compliment the K12 program also removed many subjects. He said that Filipino, Physical Education, even some Math and Natural Science subjects among others were removed.
He cited as example that out of the three Philosophy subjects that include Ethics, Logic and Philosophy of the Human Person being taught under the present curriculum only Ethics will be retained in the new curriculum. He said that the university projects that only two out of the 17 Philosophy teachers teaching these subjects would be retained if the new curriculum is implemented in 2018.
Taggaoa said the mitigation measures for teachers to be displaced by K12 the Ched and DepEd have been talking about are actually non-existent. He said in 2015 Ched promised scholarship grants for teachers to be displaced. But in a recent forum in Manila last May, he learned that the scholarship will be offered to teachers who will be retained.
On May 5 to 6, Taggaoa attended a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) led forum where the department’s K12 adjustment measures program (AMP) was discussed. He said representatives of Ched and DepEd were also present.
“I inquired about the scholarship grant and the Ched representative said that only those who will return to teach can avail of the scholarship and that those retrenched cannot apply,” Taggaoa said.
Taggaoa also said that the DepEd representative in the said forum announced that teaching jobs for senior high are open for fresh graduates and teachers who have not yet finished their masters degree. “When I asked why, the DepEd representative said because the department can not afford to pay the salary grade of those who have finished their masters and doctorate degrees,” he said.
He added that of that in the case of SLU along 90% of the 184 regular teachers who would be retrenched have finished their masters. He said universities require all their regular teachers to finish their masters.
Taggaoa shared that DOLE through its AMP will give financial support to teachers who will be displaced by the K12; three months for contractuals and six months for regulars. He, however, said the DOLE has not yet decided how much would the financial assistance be.
Taggaoa said he is just waiting for a notice of retrenchment from the university. He said he might still still have teaching loads this 2016 because there will still be second year students. “I do not know where to go after I get retrenched,” he said.
Taggaoa said the incoming administration should seriously review the K12 program and re-asses its anti-labor impact on college and university teachers. # nordis.net