Sen. Joel Villanueva (File photo)

MANILA – The resumption of face-to-face (F2F) classes this week must bring to focus the hardships of the country’s teachers, Senator Joel Villenueva said on Sunday.

Villanueva made this remark as he pushed anew for the passage of bills that alleviate the condition of educators. 

He emphasized that outside of their academic tasks, many teachers spend their own money to shoulder classroom-related expenses and assist needy students.

“We must pay our teachers for what they are worth given the responsibility they carry on their shoulders -- our children's learning and future,” he said in a press statement.

Villanueva acknowledged that the most ideal measure for both teaching and non-teaching personnel is a “salary upgrade.” However, he said it is more realistic to increase their allowances. 

“We propose to provide additional grocery and transportation allowance, and medical allowance for teaching and non teaching personnel in public basic education schools (Senate Bill No. 564), as well as teaching personnel in our [State Universities and Colleges] and [technical vocational institutions] (Senate Bill No. 565),” he added.

Meanwhile, Villanueva also reminded the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure that its “all systems go” for the opening of classes must be matched with the readiness on the ground of the facilities, teachers and students.

“The era of missing classrooms, sharing tables and chairs and holding classes under the shade of trees must no longer happen. We expect our students to have their classes in comfortable classrooms and with complete learning materials as promised by DepEd,” he said.

Moreover, he said minimum public health standards must continue to be observed amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

As of Aug. 20, DepEd said there are 27,691,191 enrolled learners for this school year.

The department earlier set a 28.6 million target enrollment for SY 2022-2023. (PNA)