Teachers' groups reject computer loan for distance learning

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 09 2020 04:47 PM | Updated as of Jul 09 2020 05:00 PM

Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) hold a protest in front of the Department of Education (DEPED) headquarters in Pasig City on June 09, 2020. The groups raised concern on the accessibility of digital learning tools to both teachers and students with DepEd’s shift to online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Teachers' groups on Thursday rejected a loan program by the Government Service Insurance System, which sought to help government workers buy computers for distance learning.

The GSIS is set to introduce a P30,000 computer loan program for government workers, which includes public school teachers, who need to buy a desktop or laptop to adjust to new education schemes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

But both Alliance of Concerned Teachers Secretary General Raymond Basilio and Teachers' Dignity Coalition Chairperson Benjo Basas, in separate interviews, said the loan would only aggravate teachers' debts.

"Matagal nang lubog sa utang ang mga guro. Dadagdag lang ito," said Basilio.

(Teachers have long been buried in debt. This will just add to it.)

"Parang iyong mga teacher ay gusto pang ibaon sa utang lalo," said Basas, who even called the offer "insulting."

(It's like they want to bury teachers in further debt.)

Basilio and Basas said government, particularly the Department of Education, should provide equipment to teachers for free.

Basilio suggested that the DepEd can avail the GSIS loan to "hasten the delivery of its duty to distribute laptops to teachers and pay for the interests that come with it as well."

The computer loan can be paid in three years at 6-percent interest, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

Basas noted how it was already unfair that some teachers use their personal laptops to carry out their work duties.

The DepEd has said it was in the process of procuring more tablets, laptops and computers to ensure that all teachers in public schools will be equipped for the new normal in the education sector.

Dominguez has also said the GSIS will launch another program in September to help Filipinos pay for the education of their beneficiaries.