The Clearing Point
THE TEACHING SCHEDULE OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS
With the ruling of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), public school teachers in the Philippines can breathe a sigh of relief for the CSC had ruled that the two hours of service, in addition to the six hours of actual classroom teaching, may be rendered even within or outside school premises.
Some public school teachers may not be aware of the fact that the Civil Service Commission is out with CSC Resolution No. 080096. While public school teachers were to abide by the maximum six-hour actual classroom teaching pursuant to Republic Act 4670 otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, however, as a general rule, they are, as government employees, not exempted from the mandate to render eight hours a day service as provided for under Republic Act 1880, otherwise known as An Act To Amend The Second Paragraph Of Section Five Hundred And Sixty-Two And Section Five Hundred And Sixty-Four Of The Revised Administrative Code.
Republic Act 1880 provides, among others, that “such hours, except for schools, courts, hospitals and health clinics or where the exigencies of service so require, shall be as prescribed in the Civil Service Rules and as otherwise from time to time disposed in temporary executive orders in the discretion of the President of the Philippines but shall be eight (8) hours a day, for five (5) days a week or a total of forty (40) hours a week, exclusive of time for lunch: Provided, That any employee or laborer now in the employment of the government who shall suffer a reduction of his weekly or daily wage or compensation because of a reduction of the number of days or hours of labor in a week, as provided by this section, subject to the minimum daily or hourly wage or compensation or pay per piece already fixed under Republic Act Numbered Six hundred and two, shall be given an automatic increase in his daily or hourly wage or compensation or in the rate per piece, whose amount in a week or a day or per piece shall be equal to the diminution which his daily or hourly or per piece wage or compensation at the time this Act went into effect shall suffer on account of the reduction of days or labor to five days a week: And provided, further, That the salaries of employees received on monthly basis shall not suffer any diminution on account of the reduction of the number of days of labor a week."
The above-cited CSC resolution was the upshot of the inquiry of Department of Education for a re-examination of the Commission's guidelines with regard to teachers' working hours. The re-examination of the teacher’s working hours came after several public school teachers complained that they were required by their superiors to be within school premises for straight eight hours, otherwise a corresponding salary deductions were made due to undertime when they fall below the requirement.
The CSC clarified that public school teachers are not actually exempt from the eight hours of work provided for in Republic Act 1880. What is limited to six hours as provided for in Republic Act 4670 is only the work hours devoted to actual classroom teaching.
We have to understand that the nature of work of school teachers is so different from that of other government employees. The six-hour mandatory teaching requirement is already distressing due to heavy teaching load, over-crowded classroom, non-conducive faculty or study rooms, and such other problems that may lead to exhaustion and low morale. Teachers have to stand up most of the time attending to their students while in the classroom, while non-teachers may spend the 8 hours setting. Teachers are easily notice by students, peers or the community if they are not doing their homework, while non-teachers may pretend to be doing something when in fact they are doing nothing. And yet, compare the salaries that both teachers and non-teachers employees received.
As a matter of fact, the flight of the teachers has to be understood for they even render more than eight working hours a day. The two hours are not even enough for the preparation of the lesson plans, school exercises, and participation in school and community-based activities. Teachers should, therefore be allowed to continue the two hours left either in the classroom or elsewhere where they could do their homework.
(for feedback, the author may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)