Tell it to SunStar: DepEd’s new workload policy

By Teachers’ Dignity Coalition chairman Benjo Basas
Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

We have forwarded our assessment and recommendations regarding Department of Education (DepEd) Order (DO) No. 5, s. 2024, entitled “Rationalization of Teachers’ Workload in Public Schools and Payment of Teaching Overload,” which is “a landmark move by DepEd and aims to address longstanding concerns regarding teacher workload and compensation, particularly focusing on overtime pay.”

We sent a formal letter to Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte on Friday, May 10, 2024. The letter, where we attached our position paper, said, “While certain aspects of DO No. 5, S. 2024 mirror proposals previously raised by TDC, such as the teachers’ six hours reflected in the DTR (daily time record) to mean eight hours of service rendered; the non-requirement of means of verification for the two remaining hours; and as earlier mentioned, the payment of overtime pay for classroom work beyond the six hours, we believe there are still ambiguities that require clarification.”

We expressed gratitude for the focus on overtime pay provisions, highlighting their alignment with Sections 13 and 14 of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, or Republic Act 4670.

Notably, this marks the first time DepEd has issued specific guidelines on overtime or teaching overload pay since the enactment of the Magna Carta in 1966, signifying a pivotal moment in addressing the issues faced by our public mentors.

However, there are still ambiguities and inconsistencies, which we outlined in detail, emphasizing the need for comprehensive guidance to ensure the policy’s effective implementation.

The key points we raised are ambiguities surrounding the interpretation of teaching hours and its perceived deviation from Magna Carta and a particular CSC Resolution, the determination of teacher shortages in schools, and the allocation of resources for overtime or teaching overload payments, among other matters. We urged the DepEd to acknowledge these pressing concerns and engage in constructive dialogue to address them effectively.

Since this is a landmark policy, we don’t want it to end up with a flawed implementation like previous DepEd issuances regarding teachers’ working hours. We believe that DepEd recognizes the importance of clarifying the policy and the need for collaborative efforts to ensure its success, as it will undoubtedly impact the welfare of teachers and the quality of education.

We anticipate a swift response from DepEd, with a particular emphasis on engaging in a comprehensive dialogue regarding the issue.

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