Sara Duterte leaves unfinished business at DepEd

Sara Duterte leaves unfinished business at DepEd

/ 05:38 AM June 21, 2024

VP’s Mindanao allies see force alignments, ‘vibrant opposition’ Sara DUterte

NOT A WEAKNESS Vice President Sara Duterte says she is stepping down as education secretary not out of weakness but of concern for teachers and the youth but did not give the reason for her irrevocable resignation. —SCREENGRAB FROM DEPED PHILIPPINES FACEBOOK PAGE

A ship captain is expected to lead his crew safely through their journey.

But for “Teacher Bons,” Vice President Sara Duterte’s sudden resignation was like a captain abandoning his crew during their voyage since most of her programs in the Department of Education (DepEd) have yet to start.

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The 55-year-old grade school teacher, who uses an alias to avoid reprisals, has taught for 37 years, 11 in public schools.

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When Duterte announced her resignation on Wednesday, it was streamed live on DepEd’s official Facebook page, and she was among the more than 50,000 viewers.

The announcement shocked and surprised her.

READ:VP Sara Duterte quits Cabinet in break with Marcos

“It’s like: ‘What happened?’” she told the Inquirer. “Of course, it was really shocking, though, she should have done this a long time ago.”

“What I mean is, out of the blue, you decided to resign as DepEd secretary? While the programs initiated under your leadership have not started at all, or [is] nothing being done yet?” she said.

Teacher Bons wondered whether Duterte’s policies would remain, such as removing classroom decorations like artwork and posters.

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She said that classroom wall decorations were important, especially for kindergarten teachers.

What about ‘Matatag’?

“So, can I bring them back now? And there are many other questions raised after the resignation like what will happen now to her projects that are not even being implemented yet,” she said.

Among these projects was the shift to the “Matatag curriculum” for basic education from kindergarten to Grade 10, which DepEd planned to implement in phases. It is set to begin in the school year 2024-2025.

Teacher Bons said that some teachers had not yet started training for the phased implementation of the new curriculum.

She said she did not believe the Vice President’s explanation for leaving DepEd. Duterte said that it was not prompted by “weakness,” but by “concern” or “compassion” for the teachers and students.

“Does she want us to picture her like a mother who wants to go abroad and will say, ‘I will leave my children for their sake’? Because for me, honestly, I don’t know what kind of concern she was saying,” she said.

In resigning, Duterte dropped the Matatag curriculum implementation and teachers’ training is still incomplete, Teacher Bons said.

Duterte also did not push hard enough for higher teachers’ salaries. Teacher Bons said that DepEd said it would “study” a bill filed by the Makabayan bloc seeking a P50,000 entry-level salary for teachers.

“I have nothing against the Vice President, but if you will see our condition, there was nothing really significant that happened when she was the DepEd secretary,” she lamented.

From education sector

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers, the teachers’ group that Duterte repeatedly Red-tagged, welcomed her resignation and hoped that President Marcos would appoint someone nonpolitical who came from the education sector.

The Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said Mr. Marcos should immediately appoint a replacement so as not to leave DepEd headless, considering the current education crisis, as shown in the recent results of the Programme for International Student Assessment.

PBEd executive director Justine Raagas hoped that the next education secretary would be “consistent” with DepEd’s current programs.

“There were things that we saw in the programs [under Duterte] that were good, like the Matatag curriculum, which we hope will be continued [by her successor], we also saw the rolling out of summer camps which was a good approach, and the removal of administrative tasks among teachers,” Raagas told the Inquirer.

Lito Senieto, executive vice president of the National Parent-Teachers Association, said he believed that Duterte’s resignation was “a little early” and “abrupt.”

In an interview with ANC, he said it was “unfortunate” that Duterte left her post at this point when the Matatag curriculum would be rolled out for the first time.

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) “celebrate” Duterte’s resignation and echoed calls for Mr. Marcos to appoint a “better education secretary who will heed and prioritize the needs of the Filipino students burdened by the education crisis.”

The resignation manifested the widening cracks in the “fragile Marcos-Duterte relationship” that left the education sector “stuck in a cycle of crisis,” SCAP said.

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“This petty squabble has been at the expense of quality and accessible education for the Filipino youth,” it said.

TAGS: DepEd, Sara Duterte

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