Public school admin staff fear overwork – Edcom
As teachers await the full implementation of the policy fully relieving them of administrative duties by March-end, some public schools fear that they may lose their administrative officers (AOs), even during the transitory period, due to the heavy workload they are due to inherit.
Citing a concern raised by a school principal in the Calabarzon region, the Second Congressional Commission on Education (Edcom 2) said in a statement on Saturday that some of their AOs were on the brink of quitting their jobs because they were “already experiencing overwork.”
“Imagine, an administrative officer who used to work [on the administrative tasks] of one school will now have to do the work for two schools,” Edcom said, quoting the school head identified only as “Mimi.”
According to the school head, this caused “many of our AOs to consider resigning … because there’s so much work to do.” Asked whether the Department of Education (DepEd) had already gotten wind of similar complaints, spokesperson Michael Poa said it had yet to receive formal reports about such cases.
He said the “clustering” of schools which had inadequate nonteaching staff was one way to tackle this workload problem.
“The strategies being employed, such as clustering of schools and the immediate hiring of admin support personnel within the 60-day period, aims to prevent existing AOs from being overburdened,” Poa explained to the Inquirer in an exchange of messages.
But he acknowledged that the “clustering” approach, or designating the same set of AOs to serve a maximum of three schools, may not be feasible for all schools.
“For situations wherein it would be impractical to cluster specific schools due to geographical location or other similar factors, we are ready to provide outlier schools with their own admin support personnel,” said Poa, adding that this was factored in prior to the release of the department order (DO).DO No. 002, signed by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Jan. 26, defined administrative tasks as those “not directly related to teaching and academic learning” and were supposed to be performed by school heads and nonteaching staff.
The intention of the DO was to unburden teachers of additional work so that they could concentrate on teaching and their classes.
The 60-day transition period had been set in the hope that this would provide enough time for a smooth turnover of administrative duties to the appropriate school personnel.
During the shift, schools should be able to fill up vacancies for administrative personnel, and all AOs currently assigned to the school division offices “should already be deployed to the schools,” Poa said.
Funding for any adjustments would be provided by DepEd, as long as schools are able to “justify” their need for additional allocations, he said.Under the DO, expenses that the school may incur from hiring additional staff may be deducted from its maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) or alternative sources.
However, according to Edcom executive director Karol Mark Yee, some schools spend 30 percent to 70 percent of their budgets on utilities alone.
Fund for new hires
In its 398-page report issued last month, Edcom said the “current levels of (MOOE) budget are insufficient to fully cover the operating costs of public elementary and high schools,” leaving other school projects meant for improving student learning unfunded.
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) last week noted that the hiring of some 10,000 nonteaching staff in 2023 and 2024 was “not enough even if we deploy one personnel per school.” The group noted that there were over 47,000 public schools in the country.
“We may need to boost our school operation by hiring much-needed guidance counselors, school health workers, librarians, property custodian, security personnel, utility workers, and other staff to completely free our teachers from nonteaching-related tasks,” TDC chair Benjo Basas said.