DepEd to probe reports of teachers who are exploited abroad as maids

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) will be looking into reports of teachers being exploited abroad.

During a recent cabinet meeting, Education secretary Leonor Briones confirmed that they have been receiving reports of abuse from teachers who crossed countries to find greener pasture. She said, “Grabe ang exploitation ng mga teachers who leave DepEd, for example, to teach abroad.”

Education secretary Leonor Briones
DepEd will take a look into the reports of exploitation done to Filipino teachers abroad | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/DepEd Philippines

Briones explained that teachers who go abroad are often slumped in debt and are sometimes treated like maids. She said, “May pattern na nakita kami, especially those who go to the United States hoping for a better life.”

“They will borrow money for their visa, for the processing of their requirements, but when they got there, their salaries and situation is comparable to those of maids,” Briones added.

Briones shared that the exporting of maids, is almost the same as the exporting of teachers.

The education secretary said that their agency will be working closely with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Briones said that while these teachers choose to leave DepEd, they cannot turn a blind eye on such worrisome concerns.

Briones said,“It’s beyond our control because they already left the DepEd, the country and they go abroad to teach. They go abroad to teach because of very attractive terms but the degree of exploitation is also worrisome.”

Briones said that they will start by looking into the status of schools and situation of teachers abroad. They will also look into DOLE and DFA's reports to help address the concern. Briones said, “We’re going to examine the major exchange programs of teachers who go to the US and in other countries.”

Shortage of teachers abroad

Many American teachers have decided to leave the profession due to low pay and demanding tasks. The shortage of educators have forced American schools to turn to foreign teachers via cultural exchange visa or the J1 or the Exchange Visitor or non-immigrant visa.

For 2018, a teacher working in the US earns as much as $55,000 to $60,000 a year or roughly $4,000 a month, depending on which state.

Last December, DOLE released the guidelines for the recruitment of over 100,000 Filipino teachers for deployment in China.

‘Return migration’

Back in 2014, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) worked with Philippine Embassy in Singapore for a “return migration” of school teachers who were forced to work as household helpers or household service workers (HSWs) in Singapore. They were given the chance to practice their teaching profession and fill up the vacancies brought about by the K to 12 program.

Last year, DepEd was in need of as much as 75,000 teachers for school year 2018-2019.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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