The Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2) urged the Department of Education to ensure the full implementation of its policy removing the administrative tasks of public school teachers, in a hearing held at UP BGC on February 8, 2024.
The meeting focused on DepEd’s plans for the implementation of DepEd Order No. 2, series of 2024 (DO2), which Vice President and Secretary Sara Duterte signed on January 26, 2024. DO2 ordered the immediate removal of administrative tasks of public school teachers, “geared toward building a conducive environment for effective teaching and learning to thrive”. The same policy provides a 60 day period during which School Division Offices (SDOs) will provide support for clustering of schools, deployment of non-teaching personnel, insurance of the immediate transfer and turnover of existing administrative tasks, and the hiring of administrative support personnel.
As highlighted in the EDCOM Year One Report, “Miseducation: The Failed System of Philippine Education”, teachers lament their inability to focus on teaching their students, given the burden of 50+ ancillary and administrative tasks, including serving as canteen manager, 4Ps and school-based feeding coordinator, Gulayan sa Paaralan, among others.
“Laking tulong sa teachers na ‘yung time na mai-aallot niya [sa administrative tasks] ay maibibigay sa teaching at makakapagbigay ng time sa bata…para sa mga mas makabuluhang bagay”, said an invited teacher from NCR.
DepEd Officer-In-Charge for the Human Resource and Organizational Development Undersecretary Wilfredo E. Cabral shared that in the transitory period of sixty days after the issuance of DO2,Schools Division Offices have been tasked to submit a proposed deployment of non-teaching personnel, and clustering of schools.
While this was a welcome move, Teacher Julie, a public school teacher in Region 4A clarified: “Sino – o nasaan – ang sasalo ng trabaho?…Kung tatanggalin siya sa teachers, kailangan may sasalo…Hindi talaga kakayanin ng isang school head namin at ng isang administrative officer namin na sasaluhin ang lahat ng administrative tasks ng teachers”.
Principal Mimi, from Region 4A, also shared how, during the transition period, Administrative Officers (AOs) are already experiencing overwork. “Imagine isang [administrative officer] na gagawa [ng administrative tasks] sa isang school, tapos ngayon dalawang school na ang gagawan niya noon. Maraming AO sa amin na gusto nang mag-resign…dahil sa dami ng trabaho”.
EDCOM 2 Co-Chairperson Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged the DepEd to explore partnering with civil society organizations (CSOs) and other stakeholders to properly implement the directive.
“Consider also the role of Local Government and Civil Society Organizations in all in the grand scheme of things”, he said. “They can really help them – it will unburden not only DepEd but also teachers of these matters. So just just include that in your design”, he continued.
EDCOM 2 also stressed the need to ensure equitable allocation of personnel and resources, particularly the PhP 300 million mentioned by DepEd as the initial budget for AO II positions. Executive Director Dr. Karol Mark Yee stressed, “In the EDCOM Year One Report, we have shown how there are severe inequities in the distribution of the Special Education Fund (SEF) and the school maintenance and other operating expenses budget (MOOE).”
Yee further noted that while DO 2 states that “SDOs and schools may hire personnel under Contract of Service (COS) or Job Order (JO) which may be charged against MOOE or other alternative sources of funding”, EDCOM has found in its consultations that in some schools, 30 to 70 percent of their budget is consumed by electricity bills alone.
“We eagerly anticipate the full implementation of DepEd Order No. 2, s. 2024, or the “Immediate Removal of Administrative Tasks of Public School Teachers” by March 26, 2024, or no later than 60 days after the release of the policy”, Yee continued.
“We will continue to work closely with DepEd to ensure that administrative tasks will no longer keep the teachers away from their classrooms. This includes the review of the 1997 Organization and Staffing Standards for DECS Schools Divisions, Elementary and Secondary Schools, which has since determined the number of non-teaching plantilla personnel in our schools”, he said.