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Friday, December 2, 2011

What it takes to become a professional?

Every year, we celebrate one of the most elaborated (and anticipated) events – our very own Teachers’ Day. All over the world, students, parents, school officials, and in some, governments, give due recognition to the unselfish dedication of teachers towards the enlightenment of the society. They give us different titles e.g. the silent worker, future’s key holder, the guardian of tomorrow, and the vanguard of wisdom. To our mind, these are just but inherent to our profession. These are just appends and nothing more. We do not need praises if the reality besmirches our profession. What we want is the full dignity that we deserve.

There are certain standards that make a pursuit a profession. It must have established itself distinctively as pool of experts organized with a common understanding of theories and principles and a purpose to serve the community. It must have a continuing learning for each member of the profession unswayed by the material rewards and appeals that’s why we live by the code of ethics through the years. More than enough, teachers have performed beyond the expectations of ordinary men. We have unknowingly made ourselves “gods and goddesses” far better and real than Apollo, Hercules, Aphrodite, Zeus or Hera. We make nights days. We teach without learning resources for children. We stand proudly in front yet humbled by innocent eyes of our learners. We speak powerfully yet no one hears our plight. We keep ourselves composed under dilapidated classrooms. We have built empire of knowledge yet the governing does not recognize us. We form public opinion. We transform the society. 


“La vita è bella!” – Guido (Roberto Benigni)

Life is beautiful. We were taught (and we somehow believed) that life, just like love, is a many splendored things. We have witnessed how life changed, and how much this has changed mankind. For a while, we held that life must be simple in order to live decently. But why men, when complicated things, wish to make things more complicated? Can we not live in a world of simplicity?

Capitalists become more interested to earnings and not livings. They have sacrificed objectivity over subjectivity. They became men of money and not men of many. With this, we would like to ask how did the corporations gain so much power over government and the people, the same question that Mike Adams, Editor of, has asked. And he provided at least a hint: campaign finances. Some business corporations (and private school owners) hire hoards of lobbyists who dart in and out of the parliament, leaving behind trails of cash and corruption. Most lawmakers hardly ever meet with the actual people they claim to represent. Instead, they spend their time cavorting with corporate rabble-rousers who operate based on the simple principle of greed. Caution: when the business corporations run a nation, the nation has no real future, because corporations only think in terms of the next quarter, not the next generation.

The Philippines is no excuse of that nation. There’s no need for in-depth mathematics to understand the following figures: 11 Filipino billionaires are in 2011 Forbes Lists of World’s Richest, the income of the richest 10% of Filipino families accounted for 36.0% of the total family income in the country; their income is even higher than the combined income of the lowest 60% of families; their income is also 19 times that of the poorest 10% of families and 260% higher than the national average; the highest 30% income group enjoy a double-digit savings while the lowest 30% have up to 10% income deficit; their savings is 10.2 times that of the combined savings of the lowest 70% income groups. It’s horrible indeed!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Magna Carta on Private School Teachers

Introduced by Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri
Filed: September 11, 2007
Status: Pending on the Education & Culture Committee

SECTION 1. Title. - This Act shall be known as the "Magna Carta for Private School Teachers."
SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy. - It is hereby declared to be the policy of this Act to promote and improve the social and economic status of private school teachers,
their terms of employment and working conditions in order that the teaching profession in our private school system may attract and retain qualified and dedicated persons, it being recognized that our private school system plays a vital role in the education of our people for the duties of citizenship
SECTION 3. Definition. - As used in this Act, the term "teacher" shall mean all persons engaged in teaching in any level of instruction on full-time or part-time basis, including guidance counselors, school librarians, industrial arts or vocational instructors, and all other persons performing supervisory or administrative functions in all private schools, colleges and universities. This Act shall apply to all private school teachers including those in the professional staff or private colleges and universities.
SECTION 4. Tenure of Office. - In order to secure for teachers stability of employment and security of tenure, the teachers shall not be dismissed except for dishonesty, oppressions, misconduct, neglect of duty, conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, notoriously disgraceful or immoral conduct, improper or unauthorized solicitation of contributions from subordinate employees or from students or any violation of the rules and regulations issued by the Department of Education and by Commission on Higher Education, as the case maybe.
SECTION 5. Safeguards in Disciplinary Procedure. - In connection with the right granted to teachers in the immediately preceding section, every teacher shall enjoy equitable procedural safeguards at each stage of any disciplinary procedure and shall have:
a) the right to be informed, in writing of the charges against him;
b) the right to full access to the evidence in the case:
c) the right to defend himself and to be defended by a representative of his choice or by his organization, adequate time being given to the teacher for the preparation of his defense: and
d) the right to appeal to clearly designated authorities. No publicity shall be given to any disciplinary action being taken against a teacher during the pendency of his case.
SECTION 6. No Discrimination. -There shall be no discrimination whatsoever in the employment of teachers or the grant of assignments, promotion and privileges during their incumbency or in the termination of their services, based on considerations other than professional qualifications.
SECTION 7. Academic Freedom. - Teachers shall enjoy academic freedom in the discharge of their professional duties particularly with regard to teaching, research and classroom methods.
SECTION 8. Medical Examination and Treatment - Compulsory medical examination shall be provided free of charges for all teachers before their employment and once a year thereafter. Where medical examination shows that medical treatment or hospitalization is necessary, the same shall be provided free by the private school paying the salary of the teacher.
SECTION 9. Compensation for lnjuries. - Teachers shall be protected against the consequences of employment injuries in accordance with existing laws. The effects of the physical and nervous strain on the teacher’s health shall be recognized as a compensable occupational disease in accordance with existing laws.
SECTION 10. Study Leave. - In addition to the leave privileges now enjoyed by teachers in the private schools, they shall be entitled to study leave not exceeding one school year after ten years of service. During the period of such leave the teachers shall be entitled to at least sixty percent of their monthly salary.
SECTION 11. Indefinite Leave. - An indefinite sick leave of absence shall be granted to teachers when the tenure of the illness demands a long treatment that will exceed one year at the least.
SECTION 12. Freedom to Organize. - Private school teachers shall have the right, freely and without previous authorization, to establish and to join organizations of their choosing, whether local or national, to further and defend their interests.
SECTION 13. Discrimination Against Teachers Prohibited. - The rights established in the immediately preceding section shall be exercised without any interference or coercion. It shall be unlawful for any person to commit any acts of discrimination against teachers which are calculated to (a) make the employment of  the teacher subject to the condition that he shall not join an organization, or shall relinquish membership in an organization, (b) to cause the dismissal of, or otherwise prejudice a teacher by reason of his membership in an organization activities outside school hours, or with the consent of the proper school authorities, within school hours, and (c) to prevent him from carrying out the duties imposed upon him by his position in the organization, or to penalize him for an action undertaken in that capacity.
SECTION 14. Implementing Rules and Regulations. - The Department of Education, in the case of elementary and high school teachers, and the Commission on Higher  Education, in the case of vocational, college and university teachers, shall jointly formulate and issue the necessary rules and regulations to implement the provisions of  this Act, however, such rules and regulations shall be applicable only to their respective
constituencies. Rules and regulations issued pursuant to this section shall take effect  thirty (30) days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation and by such other means as the Secretary of Education and the Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education deem reasonably sufficient to give interested parties general notice of such issuance.
SECTION 15. Penal Provision. - A person who shall willfully interfere with, restrain or coerce any teacher in the exercise of his rights guaranteed by this Act or who shall in any manner violate any provision of this Act or the rules duly issued thereunder shall, upon conviction be punished by a fine of not less that one thousand pesos or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the court. If the offender is a public official, the court shall order his dismissal from the
government service.
SECTION 16. Repealing Clause. - All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations, and issuances or parts thereof inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.
SECTION 17. Separabiliy Clause. - If any provision of this Act is declared invalid, the remainder of this Act or any provisions not affected thereby shall remain in
force and effect.
SECTION 18. Effectivity Clause. - This Act shall take effect fifteen days after its publications in the official Gazette or in at least two national newspapers of general
circulation, whichever comes earlier.