World Teachers' Day commemorates the UNESCO Recommendations on the Status of Teachers and Higher Education Teaching Personnel signed in 1966, that makes obligatory for governments to uphold the rights and welfare of teachers in pursuit of quality education.
This World Teachers' Day, as we salute our fellow teachers for the commitment and sacrifice for the development of the youth, we call on the Aquino government to seriously commit to uplift the teachers' welfare and the state of education.
These matters are most urgent, as teachers' welfare and the quality of education are at its low. Teachers from both public and private sectors are burdened with an overload of subjects oversized classes, poor working conditions, are underpaid and are not duly given of their benefits such as retirement benefits and post graduate scholarships to upgrade their skills. Even simple needs of teachers such as chalk allowance are measly.
The quality of education is dipping as seen by the latest survey of Asian tertiary schools where our premiere Philippine universities dropped off from the top 300 list. Our secondary schools also achieved low scores in the past years in the Testing in Math and Science of Students (TIMSS).
We are also concerned that our country is the lowest in contributing its budget to education, and it still being cut away in favor of foreign debt-payment, leaving our state universities and colleges in dire straits. Furthermore, government's response to this problem with our education is the K+12 program, which has failed to consult the teachers and parents, and thus this is implemented haphazardly without time for preparation.
We also note that the state of Philippine education is geared towards producing graduates to serve in foreign lands and multinationals.
A more comprehensive and participative program in education is needed, that will gear the youth's and the teacher's energies and skills towards the transformation of our country, and that will uplift the teachers' welfare to strive for a quality education. We call on the government to comply with the commitment to uphold the rights of the teachers, and most importantly serve the peoples' right to accessible education.
Again, we join the whole community in saluting the teachers and assert for a better condition in education towards social transformation.
EDUCATORS' FORUM FOR DEVELOPMENT (EFD) - MINDANAO
The Educators Forum for Development (EFD) Mindanao is a nationwide association of educators committed to social transformation, which has its beginnings in 1982 as Education Forum and was revived in 2002 with IBON and IBON Partnership in Education for Development (IPED).