A GROUP of teaching and non-teaching staff has appealed for a higher monthly allowance for master’s and doctorate scholars in the National Capital Region (NCR), saying the rates were “unfair and too low.”

In a meeting with Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Chairwoman Patricia Licuanan last July 13, the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (Cotescup) called for an increase in the stipend for scholars, citing the cost of living in NCR and other highly urbanized areas.

The stipend for those who qualify for scholarships for master’s programs is P20,000 per month, and for doctorate programs, P28,000 per month.

“‘Yung [P28,000] na ‘yan, okay sa ibang parte ng bansa but not in Metro Manila, they have to make it higher than that,” Cotescup lead convener Rene Tadle said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Tadle also proposed that colleges and universities be required to give teaching loads to teachers given scholarships during the K to 12 transition should Ched approve the increase in their monthly stipends.

“K to 12 is brought upon by the government to the teachers so they must be responsible in making sure that there are corresponding safety nets. Hindi problema ng teacher ‘yun, kailangan pa nga itaas,” said Tadle, who is also an associate professor in UST.

“I think the teacher should at least be able to avail [himself or herself] the scholarship and at the same time be allowed to at least take some load to compensate for the lost income,” he added.

However, Tadle said those with “fixed-term contracts” would have a problem, as staff or faculty members who fail to have their contracts renewed won’t qualify for scholarships.

“They cannot avail [themselves of] the scholarship because they still have to be connected to the school and the school [needs] to recommend them. They should be able to enjoy the scholarship even without recommendation from the school,” Tadle said.

DOLE’s Adjustment Measure Program

In a separate meeting with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III last July 19, Cotescup raised concerns caused by the K to 12 transition such as contractualization in the education sector, diminution of salary and benefits for teachers who transferred to Senior High School, and forced retirement or resignation of faculty members in some schools.

Carmelo Marollano, DOLE Adjustment Measure Program (AMP) deputy program manager, promised to amend guidelines on stipends upon hearing Cotescup’s concerns.

“With the inputs coming from Cotescup and those who were actually retrenched, the K to 12 DOLE AMP Guidelines will surely be amended, in fact, even earlier than the scheduled revision in November,” Marollano told the Varsitarian in an e-mail.

“The K to 12 DOLE AMP Guidelines provide that the processing will only take 10 days so much so that it is hoped that when a displaced [higher education institution (HEI)] personnel applies during the first week of the month s/he should be able to receive the first tranche of financial support by the end of the month,” he added.

The DOLE AMP serves as a safety net for displaced HEI faculty members and staff through financial support, employment facilitation and training and livelihood.

One of the measures is granting graduate scholarships to displaced faculty members. According to Ched, only 50 percent of HEI faculty in the country hold graduate degrees as of 2015.

Ched Memorandum Order No. 03 series of 2016, or the guidelines on graduate education scholarships for faculty and staff development in the K to 12 transition period, states that the scholarship covers full tuition and fees, stipend, transportation and book allowance, funding for thesis or dissertation writing, and insurance, at rates higher than the older Ched Faculty Development Program.


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