Here in the Philippines, people are afraid of change — in fact, they’re not prepared for it, too. This shows in the transition from physical classes to blended and distance learning with parents not being in favor of it.
Because of the fact that many schools, if not all schools are going to transition to distance or blended learning for this year, ACT Teachers Representative France Castro looks to provide internet allowance for public school teachers.
This would be a big help for them, especially teachers who can’t afford to establish a decent internet connection in their homes
Internet Allowance for Public School Teachers
Under House Bill No. 7034, public school teachers are to be provided an allowance of P1,500 per month; this is to suffice their need of establishing an internet connection in their homes.
Castro explains that the low salaries of public school teachers would not be enough for them to balance out their needs and the needs of the “new normal” for their jobs.
With the already measly salaries of public school teachers barely able to provide for their personal needs and that of their families; the government must provide the necessary tools and gadgets to be able to perform their duties in the proposed new modes of teaching.”
The Internet as a “Vital” Thing
House Bill No. 7034 or also known as the “Internet Allowance for Public School Teachers Act of 2020,” is a call for the national government to assist public school teachers. Granting them this allowance will help them cope with the situation.
Due to the recent objective and goal of the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement distance or blended learning; this is a NEED for public school teachers.
A reliable internet connection is a vital component for DepEd’s alternative work schemes such as work-from-home arrangements and distance learning.”
Offsetting the “Chalk Allowance”
Before, public school teachers are given a one-time allowance dubbed as the “Chalk Allowance.”
The idea is that this allowance can be offset for the internet allowance. However, Castro notes that this will not be enough for teachers to get a decent and acceptable internet connection.
She continues to say that giving P1,500 to public school teachers would be what they need to get a stable internet connection.
Providing public school teachers a monthly P1,500 for internet connection would greatly help them cope with the demands of the ‘new normal’ imposed by the Department of Education.”
Aside from Castro, she was joined by several representatives including Arlene Brosas, Representative of Gabriela Women’s partylist; Sarah Jane Elago, Kabataan partylist Representative; as well as Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat, Bayan Muna Partylist Reps.
Who Would be Covered?
Under the bill would be public school teachers who would be in engagement in the Blended Learning Program (BLP) of elementary and secondary public schools.
In her statement, she is deeply urging the speedy and the swift enactment of this measure for the preparation for online and virtual classes.
Just to note, this is different or separate from the bill that seeks to increase the salaries of public school teachers; this one is specifically for the distance learning idea.
We urge the House leadership to swiftly enact this measure into law as the target date of the Department of Education nears; and no teacher or student shall be burdened by education just because they do not have a stable internet connection.”
Implementation of the Proposed Act
As per the bill, both the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the DepEd are to spread the crucial information about the implementation of the Act within a month (30 days) from its effectiveness date.
Moreover, the bill states that the amount that schools and departments would need are necessary for the implementation. And, it shall be provided in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Officials will be held liable if either of the Departments FAIL to comply with the provision.
Shifting to Online Learning
Senator Grace Poe said that the Philippine government needs to consider providing internet allowance to public school teachers; to assist them with the shift of learning during this time of the pandemic.
In response, the DepEd said that they are currently reviewing budget to see if they’ll be able to accommodate the budget for the teachers.
What do you think about the implementation of an internet allowance for public school teachers? Do you deem this to be necessary for them to continue working? Furthermore, is our government capable of providing this kind of program?
To conclude, it’s just right for schools to follow the order of President Duterte; the order of not allowing face-to-face classes until no vaccine is ready.