The Alliance of Concerned Teachers-National Capital Region (ACT-NCR) union made a plea to the Department of Education (DepEd) on Saturday. They asked the department to cut down on the excessive workload of educators instead of removing visual aids and decorations from classrooms.
Ruby Bernardo, the president of ACT-NCR, emphasized, “It is clear to our teachers that the materials posted in our classrooms, especially during the elementary and primary years, greatly benefit our visual learners.”
This statement was in response to DepEd’s recent directive, Department Order (DO) No. 21, s. 2023, which ordered the removal of “unnecessary artwork, decorations, tarpaulin, and posters” from school grounds and classrooms. The directive stated that classroom walls should remain bare without any posters or decorations.
Bernardo further argued that the focus should not be on the classroom decorations. Instead, she suggested re-evaluating the demanding workload of teachers, who she says are not adequately compensated. “Teachers invest a significant amount of time and resources to ensure their classrooms are conducive to learning,” she said.
The education department’s call for ‘Brigada Eskwela’ or the annual school maintenance program this year was aimed at simplifying and ensuring schools are functional, clean, and orderly, both inside and outside the classroom. This sentiment was shared by Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, who further clarified that the initiative aims to make schools more orderly.
In a recent interview on Aug. 16, Duterte stressed that all classroom decorations, including writings, should be removed. The next day, during a Brigada Eskwela event in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, the education chief was spotted taking down her portrait from a classroom wall.
Moreover, the Department Order 21 has also ended the annual contests for Best Implementing School Awards, Hall of Fame Awards, and Brigada Plus at the national level. This move is in line with DepEd’s efforts to emphasize volunteerism among parents, teachers, and school staff, and to prevent any solicitations for raising contributions for Brigada Eskwela activities.