EDUCATION LEGAL UPDATES
By: Megs S. Lunn
“A teacher who accepts a position assumes a contractual obligation to live up to his contract assuming full knowledge of the employment terms and conditions.” (Code of Ethics Art VI, Sec. 6)
The Diocesan Commission on Catholic Education, in collaboration with the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, led by Regional Vice President Rev. Fr. Gualberto “Joebert” Villasis, Jr. and Rex Bookstore, held a learning session on Legal Updates on Laws Affecting Private Education last October 28, 2014, held at the ACC Gym, Kalibo, Aklan.
Rev. Fr. Joebert believes, “our schools are vulnerable to legal challenges. It is then necessary for our administrators, faculty and personnel to be informed and updated with the legal issues and concerns affecting us and our school operations.”
The speaker is one of the few active legal minds in the field of Educational Law. A very sought after school lawyer, Atty. Ulpiano “Ulan” P. Sarmiento III completed AB LLB LLM degrees. He is a Law Professor and Dean of the College of Law, San Beda College, Manila.
Atty. Sarmiento presented two topics/updates to the delegates from the different private parochial schools and colleges in Aklan. He discussed basic constitutional objectives of a Teacher, and Duties and Responsibilities of the Teachers touching the DepEd issuances on Child Protection Policy and Anti-Bullying Act.
He particularly mentioned the two basic constitutional objectives the Teachers must abide as it is their obligation to do so. These are: 1) Art. XIV, Sec 5 (Protect and promote the right of all to quality education) and 2) Art. XIV, Sec 3(3) (the formation of character on ethical, spiritual, moral and personal discipline of the student).
Through these basic objectives, the Teachers need to understand their contractual and statutory duties.
Poor education comes from a poor teaching and negligence of duty by the Teacher. It is poor education when a student is promoted to the next level without sufficient knowledge and competence. On the other hand, a good solid education comes from a good solid foundation of teaching by a good Teacher. Teachers are duty bound to deliver a good solid education according to the constitution.
The Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers Article IV, Section 2 states that, “A Teacher must be competent and efficient, must uphold the highest possible standards of quality education, make the best preparation for the career of teaching and shall be at his best at all times in the practice of his profession. Likewise, Education Act of 1982 Sec. 18 (2) provides, “The Teacher shall be accountable for efficient and effective attainment of specified learning objectives.”
“Teacher shall participate in the continuing education program of the Professional Regulatory Commission and shall pursue such other studies as well as improve efficiency, enhance prestige of the profession, and strengthen competencies, virtue and productivity in order to be nationally and internationally competitive. A Teacher ensures the conditions contributive to the maximum development of learners, and shall extend assistance in preventing or solving learner’s problems and difficulties.” (Article IV, Sec. 3)
In order to become more competent and effective, Teachers must give a fair and just evaluation of learners through giving correct scholarly and academic grades, never accept favors or gifts.
The second objective deals with the formation of character. According to Atty. Sarmiento, 1) Teacher should lead by example (Code of Ethics Article 3, Sec. 3), 2) To act with honor (Article 6, Sec 6) and 3) Impose discipline and right to parental care (Family Code Article 218).
The three reasons why discipline must be imposed to students are 1) To establish and maintain proper order in school; 2) For character formation, (discipline, morality, conduct), and 3) To protect the good name and reputation of the school.
On DepEd Memorandum Order No. 40, Series of 2012, the duties and responsibilities of teaching and non-teaching staff of a school, it must adopt the law and explain it to their stakeholders for better understanding. Atty. Sarmiento stressed, that “the need to prevent bullying is a necessity.”
He shared simple techniques on how to prevent like the Adoption of Anti-Bullying Policy, and Train student to become ally’s not just bystanders as allies prevent bullying from happening.
Atty. Sarmiento also reminded the delegates that no other laws shall be mandated by the school authority except those from the Secretary of the DepEd. Regional and Provincial memoranda must conform with the law. The school has the right to refuse obedience on such memorandum if not in accordance with the law. He stressed that we need to follow the rule of contractual and statutory duty. /MP