The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) announced on Friday that it will examine allegations of teachers being involuntarily enlisted in the Department of Education’s (DepEd) National Learning Camps (NLC).
Scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 25, the NLC coincides with the teachers’ “proportional vacation leave.” Although participation in the NLC is meant to be voluntary for both teachers and learners, ACT Secretary General Raymund Basilio reported during a press conference that certain teachers are purportedly being compelled to attend.
“We have monitored recorded cases on Facebook where a teacher posted, ‘The memo says it’s voluntary, but why is it compulsory for us?’ We are investigating violations in the implementation of the NLC, particularly in respecting the right of teachers to rest as this is their proportional vacation leave period,” Basilio said.
Without revealing the identities of the teachers, Basilio mentioned that some of them are ACT members and others are not. All these teachers work in schools located outside of Metro Manila.
ACT is prepared to lodge a formal complaint, contingent upon evidence that these teachers are being coerced by their respective schools. “We can file a complaint as this constitutes a violation of teachers’ rights due to unfair labor practices. We can bring this to the attention of the Civil Service Commission and the Public Sector Labor Management Office,” Basilio added.
DepEd, in response, emphasized that participation in the NLC is indeed voluntary. DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa urged teachers to report any violations to their Division or Regional Offices.
DepEd launched the NLC with the intent of addressing learning losses and gaps brought about by the two-year pandemic period, during which blended and other alternative learning methods were employed. The NLC pilot will be conducted for Grades 7 and 8, concentrating on English, Math, and Science subjects.