Tell it to SunStar: Lightening teachers’ burden in schools

Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

As a licensed healthcare professional, I empathize with the hundreds of thousands of public school teachers burdened by multitudes of non-teaching workloads, including the implementation of school health programs the whole school year.

In the 18th Congress, I filed House Bill (HB) 4232, or the proposed School Health and Safety Act. Unfortunately, pandemic bills assumed higher priority and took over the agenda of the previous Congress.

I have decided to file a revised version of the bill because of the recent moves of the Department of Education to unburden school teachers of non-teaching responsibilities and tasks. I support those moves.

HB 9913 directly addresses a massive chunk of the non-academic workload of school teachers. It seeks to establish Health and Safety Offices in all schools, to be staffed with professionals and certified personnel. The size and kinds of personnel will depend on the student population size of the school.

Funding would be a crucial issue, but can be doable and sustainable. The lessons of the pandemic tell us HB 9913 is necessary and urgent.

If we can shift all or most of the significant capital outlay and logistics needs to foreign-funded programs and maybe some public-private partnerships, thereby unburdening the annual national budget, there would be fiscal space for the HSOs to be established and sustained over time.

HB 9913 already includes phased implementation, and that would ease the budget implications on a year-to-year basis.

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