Teachers being the most valuable among professions experience the cruel irony of being stripped of their monetary values and some crucial budget allocations. The rate of attrition among the teaching field had already increased to about 20%. In a third world country like the Philippines, budget cuts mean fewer incentives for the teachers which promotes their more extended stay on the profession.
Budget cuts is a complicated problem that stems out to multiple issues. Below is a list of the things our local teachers have to experience regularly as our government fails to establish a more secure environment for teaching.
1. Small Pay
The most apparent implication of budget cut we can heed from the rantings of a normal public school teacher. Followed by an unsatisfactory increment of lower than 100PHP in your next year, that’s not even the worst of it, sometimes these small fixed salaries are deducted if the school is undergoing a crisis. Furthermore, given the low pay they do not have the liberty to choose to cut their working hours, they still have to render overtime hours and be in summer classes they only receive a fraction of money for.
2. Unstable Job
Since money issues are always a problem for schools, missing budgets, and corrupted program allocation directly affect teachers. Sometimes DepEd cut on benefits teachers receive. The stability of the job is very questionable as sometimes less medical and social benefits are awarded to hardworking teachers.
3. Lesson Material Thrifting
It is no longer a surprise that teachers pay a part of reproducing teaching materials such as photocopies, learning aids such as posters and acetate. It had become a constant additional load to able teachers and only when they cannot afford anymore will the cost be passed to their students.
4. Technological and Media upgrades delay
A quick visit to our schools will tell you how the existence of viable computers for use is almost next to nothing. In the age of the Internet, it would be of great help to use desktops for research and cut on paper materials. While this nature-friendly option is always available, bargains are skimped by regional districts and delay upgrades. Students suffer the unavailability of these technologies and use more time for their assignments.
5. Textbooks and instructional materials budget delay
Switch channels to find documentaries about Education and be well informed of the sorry state of public schools in the Philippines. A book shared by ten students who are already torn apart. Books are sometimes almost the same age as the teachers and text are faded from old age. This cuts out the possible knowledge to be learned from books, lessening teachers’ workload.
6. Basic Education Facilities (Construction of Classrooms and Technical-vocational laboratories)
In the Philippines, it is a regular sight to have substandard classrooms at our disposal. We need a makeover of our old buildings and start building more classrooms to utilize for education. Long are the days to wait for one class to finish for an hour or two. The government must realize how valuable time is and how they should not waste any more time to facilitate construction. Filipino children deserve so much more, and our teachers will appreciate the efforts to reward their contributions to the educational system.
7. Failure to implement Continuing Professional Development
Trainers and Summit for continuing development also require a budget. New teaching techniques, new ideologies for brainstorming and adopting new teaching methods for self-improvement is crucial to catching up the generation of millennials. The lack of budget gives us no choice but to cling to the outdated ones and let go of these important teaching seminars.
8. Hiring of Teaching and Non-Teaching Personnel
Primarily every school personnel aims to provide an environment students will look forward to every day. With budget cuts, Teachers generally becomes irate because they are handed more workloads with no compensation at all. Completing the staff listing posts helps delegate specific works at their strength. We don’t welcome sight of teachers going to the 6th floor by stairs with a projector on their hands. Hiring staffs help prevent burnout in one’s workplace.
9. Less subject electives
Lesser pay means quitting faculty teachers from their certain subject group, which also results to subject being abandoned as teachers need to move to a more important subject. The unavailability of teachers for a particular subject as a consequence is inevitable. Students are being cut on the subject itself giving them fewer choices. Teachers sometimes don’t have the choice themselves to stay in the subject they like, as sometimes budget cuts prompt schools to cut subjects to accommodate the budget.
10. Larger classes
In private schools, much of this setting problem is ideally reduced to 35 students in one classroom. However, in public schools that is not the case 60 to maybe 100 of students sweat their day our in schools to learn. Feels more like a punishment if you have to endure that for years. Research has always shown that smaller classes promote interaction and therefore produce better results. Larger classes are not so very conducive to learning because one-to-one interaction is impossible.
11. Health issues
As somewhat related to the previous issue, one of the many adversities one teacher can experience is having to modulate their voice to a level where you can oust the chattering voices of students on the side, answer the inquiries and curiosities of these kids in front of you. Seems hard especially handling each one of them to a disciplined state. Verbal discipline, as well as the anxiety of trying to connect with all of your students, is going to take a toll on their health. This has been overlooked, that maybe they need to increase medical benefits for our dedicated teachers.
12. Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE)
If there’s one disappointment we always have to deal in the education system, it is still the Government’s project and their delivery time. A closer look at this project will positively reform the education system. New books and instruction materials will mean rejuvenated students getting excited to learn. However, I hope the government pushes this one without pulling one string on the other end to tighten. All education sectors must receive this privilege equally. This help from the government will help secure more teachers staying at their jobs. They no longer need to get caught in between going for greener pastures and passion when they can have enough money to get by.
13. School closures
When budget cuts happen so often maybe it’s an indication of something bigger. Education is an essential government function, but then people can’t help taking advantage and will put lots of people on the brink of unemployment. Small schools close when finances are not handled well. Teachers are forced to move out of their comfort zone to teach at other schools sometimes not their preferred subjects to teach.
We can only hope to see changes in our Education System from the government shortly, mostly tackling money issues. Until then let us be considerate to teachers as they juggle family life and these many problems that entail teaching in the Philippines.