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DOLE’s extension teachers big help to Masbate mentors

By Mavic Conde

Teachers would do everything to make learning possible amid the great challenges of the blended learning modalities, which the Department of Education has implemented as a pandemic response. But public school teachers also admit that help can make a big difference, like having additional hands to assist in printing and distribution of modules among others.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has addressed this need by providing 29 interns to five public schools in Masbate. Dubbed as “Extension Teachers”, these beneficiaries of the Government Internship Program (GIP) assist in printing, sorting, distribution and retrieval of modules, and conducting home visitation to assess learners’ needs.

In a DOLE Bicol news release, a Grade 10 teacher in Cataingan National High School said the “GIP beneficiaries who served as extension teachers have immensely contributed to the implementation of the blended learning modalities.”

The teacher added that “aside from the allowance and experience that these interns will earn, the school and the learners also benefit from it.” [So] “it makes us happy that there is a government program like this.”

The “extension teachers” either have a degree in education or are already licensed teachers looking for a teaching appointment. Among them is 29-year-old single mother Daria A. Marcos, who was deployed at Pawican National High School. She expressed her gratitude to the program as she was able to immerse in the real world of public service and get to earn money at the same time, according to the news release.

“It’s hard to look for a job at this time. I’m grateful that I became a part of it. Not to mention that I experienced this in my alma mater,” she said.

According to Ma. Ella E. Verano, provincial Head of DOLE-Masbate, “Now that distance learning is the only feasible way to give students an access to learning, our DOLE GIP is a very timely assistance to our partner agency, the DepEd.” The extension teachers just fit the needs of public schools, she added.

DOLE Regional Director Ma. Zenaida A. Angara-Campita said that GIP is a good training ground for interns before being absorbed in the government service, and a good opportunity to acquire experience.

The DOLE GIP aims to provide opportunities and engage young workers to serve the general public in government agencies’/entities’ projects and programs at the national and local level. The internship period shall be a minimum of three months to a maximum of six months and may be extended for another six months.

Meanwhile, teachers from Albay praised the initiative and could not help but wish that this can be replicated in the province.

“This will give us, teachers, a big relief especially that the extra tasks have caused us to spend our weekends on them. It eats up a lot of our family time,” Tiwi Central Elementary School teacher Glenna Rivera said. A secondary teacher in Tiwi has similar experience.

DepEd assured its teachers of psycho-social activities on school opening last year to ensure they are emotionally and mentally prepared for the challenges brought by the pandemic. This recent partnership with DOLE can solidify that support for teachers well-being, not only from Masbate but from all over the country if replicated nationwide. It will help more extension teachers, too.


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