09 October 2006

A more relevant NACITEA

IF PLANS again did not miscarry, the Naga City Teachers and Employees Association (NACITEA) will elect its new board of directors today. Up for grabs are seats to represent the public school teachers (3 for every district = 9), principals (1 for every district = 3) and, if I'm not mistaken, the previous Board leadership.

The Board will elect its set of officers from among its members, from the president down the line.

This year is also NACITEA's 50th, the proper celebration of which should have been done last August I was told. But it did not push through for some reasons beyond me.

Which is why I will encourage whoever will take over the reins of NACITEA to revisit whether its structure is still relevant to meet the needs of its constituency. The most recent numbers I have is of last year:

(The Naga) Division of City Schools supervises 8 public high schools and 28 elementary schools operating in the city as of December 2005. The latter are organized into three districts: North, South and West.

It is headed by a superintendent, backstopped by an assistant, 14 supervisory and 43 administrative staff at the division office. They are joined by 28 school heads, 998 teachers and 73 school-based non-teaching staff in the field for a total of 1,158.
Of the total, 86% are teachers (from the highest ranking master teacher down to the entry-level Teacher I). Thus, while I see no problem with school principals sitting in the board, I have a problem with a non-teacher sitting as president.

NACITEA exists mainly to serve its constituency and almost 9 out of every 10 of these are teachers. School heads, supervisors and non-teaching staff, I will concede, also qualify as NACITEA members according to its governing laws. But the reality is, DepEd's power structure is such that principals and supervisors usually have their way, the numbers notwithstanding. (I also have this funny feeling that NACITEA's constitution and by-laws is typical of teachers associations in the entire country.)

Unfortunately, the interests of supervisors, school heads and non-teaching staff do not square with the interest of ordinary teachers.

It is time NACITEA ensures that its president should
always come from the rank of teachers. That is our best guarantee that the ordinary public school teachers will have a seat on the table, and its voice heard, in the Naga City School Board.

And to ensure that public school heads will enjoy the same privilege, there is sense in further expanding the School Board's non-voting membership to include elementary and high school heads. But let us ensure that NACITEA's voting right in the Board is exercised by a full-fledged teacher.