Tell it to SunStar: No politician should serve as DepEd secretary

By Teachers’ Dignity Coalition spokesman Benjo Basas
Tell it to SunStar : No politician should serve as DepEd secretary
SunStar Tell it

We reiterate our appeal to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to appoint a non-political figure as the next secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd). The call comes after Vice President Sara Duterte resigned as secretary of the DepEd effective July 19, 2024.

We emphasize the importance of selecting a candidate who is not actively involved in partisan politics. This is to ensure that DepEd is spared from political bickering and being dragged into divisive political fighting. The primary consideration focus of the new secretary should be on educational advancement rather than political agenda.

Aside from this, the next secretary should be an excellent manager since that person will be managing the largest bureaucracy in the country. This individual will oversee the department with the most personnel, the most geographically dispersed operations, and the greatest resources. Effective management skills are crucial to addressing the complex challenges of such a vast system and implementing reforms that will benefit the entire educational sector.

We hope that the next secretary comes from the academe, or at the very least, has experience teaching in a public school. It is essential that this person have firsthand experience with the daily challenges faced by teachers and students. Such a background would provide the new secretary with a deeper understanding and empathy for the situation on the ground.

Having lived through the experiences of teachers and students would ensure that the secretary’s decisions are informed by practical knowledge and a genuine commitment to improving the educational environment. Their heart should be truly that of a teacher’s, dedicated to the mission of nurturing and educating the nation’s youth.

Our appeal underscores the broader concerns within the education sector about the need for a supportive, effective and politically neutral educational system. We believe appointing a non-partisan, experienced educator and manager as the next DepEd secretary, the focus would remain on creating an educational system that serves the best interests of students and teachers alike.

In addition to addressing strategic concerns, the next secretary will confront numerous challenges, especially regarding the upcoming revisions to the curriculum and the return to the old school calendar. Several policies, such as the overtime pay policy, the proposed reduction of clerical tasks and the need for clear guidance on the RPMS (Results-Based Performance Management System) and PBB (Performance-Based Bonus) in light of President Marcos’ Executive Order 61, require clarification.

Most importantly, the new secretary must take proactive steps and actively advocate for the enactment of pending bills aimed at significantly increasing teachers’ salaries.

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