Lawmaker files bill to remove teachers’ non-teaching responsibilities

MANILA, Philippines – Due to regulations imposed by various education-related government agencies, many teachers often have other responsibilities in their school assignments. But a lawmaker recently filed a bill to have these non-teaching responsibilities removed from teachers, so they can focus on their task to teach the learners instead of having to deal with other things in school.
Lawmaker files bill to remove teachers’ non-teaching responsibilities

Bohol 3rd District Representative Kristine Alexie Tutor filed House Bill 4232, otherwise known as the “School Health and Safety Act”.

The bill aims to “remove non-teaching responsibilities of teachers and faculty members in all public schools”, particularly jobs that entail them to work in the school health facility and guidance office.

Lawmaker files bill to remove teachers’ non-teaching responsibilities
Photo credit: Rey Tutas / Facebook

Through the regulations imposed by the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), teachers have long been placed as in charge of their school’s guidance office or health facility such as the clinic, even if they don’t have a medical background, Rep. Tutor argued.

Thus, the lawmaker believes that it is time to establish School Health and Safety Offices (SHSO) in each state-run (public) school. This does not only mean public elementary and high schools but also government universities and colleges, plus public technical and vocational schools.

To ensure that teachers can focus on teaching, the SHSO should be manned by qualified, licensed and certified personnel.

“The SHSO is envisioned to be potent front line health care delivery center strategically placed within schools to serve students, their parents, and their teachers,” Rep. Tutor explained in the bill.

As House Committee on Health Senior Vice-Chairperson, Rep. Tutor explained that public school teachers and faculty of state universities and colleges are often burdened by many non-teaching responsibilities. But the bill intends to help them focus on their teaching duties and take away the burden of these added responsibilities off their shoulders.

"Many more health, healing and safety professionals are needed in the country’s public schools which are the battlefield frontline against threat to public health and safety,” Rep. Tutor added.

SHSO personnel needed in schools

The SHSO personnel needed for each school will be determined by how many students are enrolled, Rep. Tutor further explained.

“School health, security, and safety manpower in our public schools is grossly inadequate. At the DepEd, the school nurse-to-student ratio they are following is 1:5,000 and the allocation of the school nurse items is not by school, but by school division which means by province or by city,” she added.

With that in mind, the bill seeks to put one medical doctor, one nurse, one dentist, one nutritionist, one dental hygienist, one guidance counselor or psychologist, one psychiatrist, one electrician, one plumber, two security guards, and two utility workers for schools with a population of up to 1,000 students.

Those who have students over 3,000 students should have two medical doctors, three nurses, two dentists, one guidance counselor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, two nutritionists, two social workers, a psychometrician, and three emergency medical technicians.

The schools must also have enough utility workers, plumbers, volunteer firefighters, and electricians.

“There is also the urgent need to keep illegal drugs from physically entering campuses and being used and sold to students and school personnel. Moreover, it has become necessary to strengthen preventive anti-drug abuse campaigns among students, their parents, and the teachers,” Rep. Tutor added.

So, the bill also includes a section that calls for “enough security guards in public schools to prevent crimes and entry of illegal drugs in campuses.”

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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