53 wasted teaching days, a symptom of a rotten education system

This article is available in Pilipino

Teachers and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) deemed the lost 53 instructional days of the past academic year (S.Y. 2023-2024) “wasted.” This is a symptom of the severe crisis in education, they said in their statement after the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) published that 53 days of teaching or interaction between teachers and students were wasted due to administrative tasks and class suspensions.

“[The wasted days] illustrates the real daily challenges that our teachers and learners experience on the ground due to faulty policies and lack of sufficient government funding,” ACT said. This is connected to many other problems in the public education system, it added.

Of these 53 days, 32 were lost due to the class suspensiona due to extreme heat and other calamities. On these days, students and teachers were pushed into ineffective modular and online learning.

Because of this, the teachers once again criticized the government’s incompetence in implementing the policy that insists on holding classes during the hottest months in the country.

“More importantly, it exposes the pitiful state of our public schools—overcrowded classrooms without ample ventilation. This is an issue of class size and facilities that can be best remedied with bold measures to build more classrooms, hire more teachers and upgrade our infrastructure standards,” ACT stressed.

They also criticized the heavy and numerous administrative tasks that are placed on the shoulders of teachers as the reason for the reduction of the teaching days. They said this shows the excessive exploitation of teachers who receive very low salaries. “It exposes how the public school system has been abandoned for a very long time,” the group said.

According to the PIDS study, the 53 days are almost equivalent to three months of teaching. According to them, this data is alarming because it is almost 30% of the required teaching days (180 days) implemented by the Department of Education per academic year.

They added that cramming the curriculum into one academic year is useless if there is no opportunity or actual day for teachers to teach students. Time to understand topics in school is very limited, they said.

According to ACT, because this is the nature of the problems facing the country’s education system, addressing selected problems alone is not enough, and comprehensive reforms should be implemented instead.

“If only game-changing solutions were pursued long ago…we could have been reaping the benefits of such brave investments by now. We need to start now,” ACT said.

Vice President Sara Duterte served as DepEd Secretary during the period of the study. She stepped down from her position as head of the department on June 19, which was greatly welcomed by teachers due to her incompetence and inaction on the widespread education crisis in the country.

AB: 53 wasted teaching days, a symptom of a rotten education system