World Teacher’s Day
05 October 2018
The Philippines Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Phils) is one with all educators in the world as we support Filipino school teachers fighting for freedom and democracy in the country to promote an education system responsive to the needs of the toiling masses.
We laud the culmination of 10-Day Action led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers for salary increase and better working conditions, including a justified P30,000 salary increase. This economic struggle is becoming widespread and is being raised to higher social and political heights.
Likewise, we extol the unprecedented strikes and walkouts in the U.S. held in Arizona, Chicago, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and West Virginia to hold American legislators accountable for prioritizing corporate tax cuts instead of classrooms. Protests were likewise held in many other US states to oppose and halt the closures of state funded colleges.
The worsening crisis of the world monopoly capitalist system is sacrificing education needs in favor of corporate profits. The working draft of the World Bank in its World Development Report 2019 correlates health and education in terms of work productivity, valued in terms of corporate profits and capacity to pay back the onerous loans and investments to poor countries. Inside schools, teachers are made to work based on business-modeled performance. State support for education is famished. Hence, in many parts of the world, teachers are becoming more restive.
In Argentina, the largest strike in over 12 years by university professors demands a bigger budget for higher education against government cuts for science and research.
Thousands march in Poland demanding higher public sector pay. Teachers protest at the education ministry in Cyprus against the decision to abolish exemptions from teaching hours for union and extra-curricular activities.
Police in central China have come under fire on social media over their handling of a teachers protest demanding unpaid performance bonuses. In Pakistan, teachers demonstrated against the non-regularisation of their services. In India, teachers demand the cancellation of the Contributory Pension Scheme.
The runaway inflation rate in the Philippines is eroding the purchasing power of teachers’ salaries. The additional take home pay from income tax adjustments under the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) Law is eaten up by the rise of prices jacked up by the very same tax law. Meanwhile, the pork-infested 2019 proposed national budget allots 6.4% lower funds for education.
Teachers do not enjoy the same sick leave and vacation leave credits as workers. They are supposed to enjoy an 84-day Proportional Vacation Pay but weekends, summer work and mandatory leaves during holiday breaks are counted in.
Teachers are compelled to shell out from their own pockets the needs for effective teaching which the government fails to provide. Special Hardship Allowance to teachers who perform duties under especially difficult conditions (i.e. those who need to travel long distances to teach in far-flung areas) are not met.
There is diminution and delay in the release of local allowances with anomalous agreements entered into by local government units with banks as well as faulty systems. Teachers in many regions do not receive their performance-based bonus (PBB).
Five years after the start of the implementation of the K-12 program, instructional and learning materials for a number of grade levels and subjects are still unavailable. Some are even erroneous. This situation requires extra effort and expenses from teachers.
Shortages in classrooms and teaching personnel had resulted to overloading of duties of teachers. In many provinces, teachers are required to work beyond the 6-hour teaching time. Class size has ballooned to a normal 50-pupil per class to as many as 60 to 70 students.
Teachers are forced to perform a multitude of duties that are not related to teaching including serving as clerks, custodians, registrars, librarians, guidance counselors, and even as security guards and janitors.
The implementation of the Results-based Management System and the Philippine Professional Standard for Teachers had oppressed teachers to deliver outstanding performance (130%) despite the disabling environment of lacking support and resources.
Private school teachers are also subject to exploitation. The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) failed to implement its own 70-20-10 distribution scheme of tuition fee increases to salaries, facilities and profit.
Pres. Trump’s Department of Education considers the use of federal funds to buy guns for teachers in response to school violence.
In the Philippines, Pres. Duterte has the same militarist answer to schools. Government troops use schools for their US-backed military operations. School violence in the Philippines is perpetrated no less by state forces.
On February 22 this year, the Northern Samar Small Farmers Association reported that military troops bombed the school in Brgy. San Miguel in Las Navas, Northern Samar.
Since May 2017, when Martial Law was imposed in Mindanao, more than 10,000 were forced to evacuate from indigenous people’s communities, 48 Lumad schools were forcibly closed even as they demand “books not bullets”.
According to Save Our Schools – Mindanao, there are 18 incidents of forced evacuations in Mindanao this year affecting 4,068 individuals, 1,338 students and 76 teachers. 19 schools have been destroyed while military forces have set-up camps in at least 30 schools. There have been 9 school-related killings and 15 teachers are also facing trumped-up charges since Duterte’s election into office.
About 2,400 individuals from indigenous communities were forced to admit accusations of being members or supporters of the New People’s Army, declared by the U.S. and the Duterte government as “terrorist”.
The international community is learning valuable lessons in securing justice for the victims of rights violations. Both Trump and Duterte were declared guilty of committing crimes against the Filipino people by the International Peoples’ Tribunal. These are crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes violating international law.
Today is a day of our international solidarity. Let our classroom this day be the open streets of democratic and anti-imperialist protest.
We enjoin teachers in all countries to take part in the ILPS Commission 11 as we prepare for the 6th International Assembly next year.
World Teacher’s Day is an occasion to assert the rights of teachers and the working people. This is our common struggle against exploitation and oppression. This is our fight for genuine freedom, democracy, social progress and education for all.
Long live all hard-working teachers!
Workers of the world, unite!
Long live international solidarity!
**Photo Credit: DepEdCalabarzon