By ACT Private Schools
April 30, 2020
QUEZON CITY – As COVID-19 is taking a heavy toll on public health, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Private Schools strongly denounces government’s neglect to equally pay attention to the plight of academic and non-academic personnel of private basic and tertiary education institutions. In an online survey conducted by ACT Private Schools, 4,005 or 94% of the 4,268 respondents across 65 cities and provinces in the country received no financial assistance to sustain living amid prolonged lockdown.
“With the private school teachers and staff being among the most vulnerable educational sectors, the government should also pay utmost precedence to the health and welfare of privately employed educational workers nationwide, especially now that their employment is at stake more than ever because of the economic impact brought by COVID-19,” said Dr. Jonathan Geronimo, Secretary-General of ACT Private Schools.
ACT Private Schools conducted mass online survey through its COVID-19 Hotline Assistance for Teachers in Private Schools (CHAT) Project to gather concerns and correctly assess the situation of the sector. Based on the data, 56.6% of the respondents said that their employers applied for the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) financial aid but only 6% of these respondents were granted the said aid. On the other hand, many of the respondents noted that they were either deemed unfit to receive such assistance based on DOLE’s qualifications, were rejected due to the exhaustion of funds for the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program, or their employers did not apply for the aid.
Furthermore, 77.9% of the respondents do not already receive any monthly compensation from their schools, while the remaining percentage are in doubt if they will be compensated during vacation until the next academic year starts anew. Most of the reasons that drove to these statistics include the perpetuation of ‘No Work, No Pay’ scheme, lack of adequate monetary funding to sustain school operations, clearance requirements, expiration of contracts during the period of lockdown, among others. More so, 51.3% of them exposed that they did not receive financial support from their employers.
ACT Private School petitions the Duterte administration to heed the demands of all academic and non-academic personnel from private basic and tertiary education institutions, through an online signature campaign expressing the sectors’ collective 8-point demand.
The initiative primarily appeals for economic and social safety net to ensure the health, welfare, and the protection of rights of all employees in different private schools, colleges, and universities. The petition presses concerning agencies such as DOLE, Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), and Department of Education (DepEd) to create and impose relevant policies and programs, not only to subsidize the medical and other basic necessities but also to secure the promotion and employment status of all probationary and tenured private school employees as the government positions its greater effort to subside the swelling number of transmission cases of COVID-19.
“The drafted 8-point socio-economic demands were derived through consultations with private school teachers and personnel, as it acknowledges the crucial role of the masses to accurately depict the actual reality and provide sensible recommendations to further better the existing programs and systems of the government. We stress that this health crisis may be termed novel but the solution it requires is never different – collectivism in the midst of the struggle.” Geronimo ended.