Reigh John Bench Almendras
ACT Teachers Partylist alongside students march in protest against the lack of support and plans by the Department of Education (DepEd). Photo courtesy of the Philippine Star.
Teachers and student groups hold a protest rally at the Mendiola bridge in Manila before the start of classes, criticizing the lack of assistance and readiness of the Department of Education (DepEd) for the education sector on Tuesday, August 29.
Scarcity of Rooms and Low Salary
In a statement, House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Party-list Representative France Castro clamored on the DepEd to address the shortage of classroom and low salary of the teachers as major problems in the education sector.
DepEd recently admitted in a Senate hearing that classroom shortage in public schools has already breached 159,000 this year from 91,000 last year. A review from the submitted targets in the Congress show a decrease in the number of target rooms to be established by the department, with 6,379 this year to only 1,628 new classrooms next year.
In terms of possible increase in teacher’s salary and benefits in the upcoming Academic Year (AY), no concrete plans were presented.
Rep. Castro also criticized the new order of DepEd mandating all classrooms to be free from any decorations through DepEd Order No. 21, s. 2023 also known as the No-Decor Policy.
“It is very unfortunate that the Department of Education has unilaterally ordered the removal of pictures of our revolutionary heroes from classrooms. This decision appears to contradict the goal of nurturing a sense of patriotism and love for our country among the younger generation,” Castro said in a statement.
A day before the opening of classes DepEd records 22,676,964 enrollees in both public and private kindergarten, elementary, and high school across the country for AY 2023-2024.
Region IV-A (CALABARZON) tallies the most number of enrollees with 3,465,598, followed by Region III (Central Luzon) with 2,586,926, and the National Capital Region with 2,480,970.
DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said schools will be accepting late enrollees and has yet to announce the final date of enrollment.