The Philippines should raise investments in teacher education that’s now the lowest in Asia at 2.8% of GDP so it can upgrade LET board passers’ number and raise teaching quality in K-12.

teacher education photo

   Despite having poured in a huge P4.386 billion for teacher preparation over the study period  2008 to 2012,  government still saw a high failure rate in Licensure Examination for Teachers or LET.

   This was at 64.8%, according to a study by Philippine Normal University’s (PNU) academic research experts led by Dr. Edna Luz R. Abulon, Educational Policy Research & Development Center director.

   Government invested P59,366 per graduate over four years. Yet, this was grossly inadequate.

   The study covered an extensive number totalling 73,882 teacher education graduates (TEG) in 56 SUCs (state universities and colleges).

    The Philippine government’s spending on education at 2.8% of GDP is already the second lowest in Asia, just next to Cambodia with 1.4%. Investment in the rest of Asia as percentage of GDP are 3.3% for Brunei; 4.3%, Thailand, and 5.6%, Malaysia.

   Apparently due to the new K-12 program, there is a need to raise the number of teachers due to the added two more years in basic education.

   Raising investments in teacher training should result in higher hiring and retention of quality teachers particularly in basic education (K-12), consequently upgrading learning quality among the youth.

   To determine effectiveness of government’s investment in teacher education, a cost analysis was conducted by comparing GAA (General Appropriations Act) figures with enrolment and graduation data in 56 SUCs selected out of 106.

  Using the National Statistics Office’s (NSO) quarterly Labor Force Survey from 2007-2011, the study analysed wastage in government investment by comparing the number of TEGs that did not pursue a teaching job.

   The study showed that 6 regions of the Top 8 best LET performers (with lowest failure rate) from 2009 to 20012 were also those that received highest government support funding –NCR and Regions 6, 1, 5, 3, and 2.

   “The study indicated that the lower the education cost or government support, the greater the tendency to have higher percentage of failure in the LET,” said Abulon.  Also part of the PNU research team  are ZyralieL.Bedural, Adonis P David, Jaime V. Florentino, Antriman V. Orleans, and Teresita T. Rungduin.

   Region 5 got the highest government support in teacher preparation investment from 2008-2010,  P136.5M, followed by NCR, P129.6 M, then ARMM 126.9 M

  Among high-ranked reasons why TEGs do not take teachings jobs are better appraisal in other jobs (better salary, better working conditions), need to support family (financially), mismatched personality with teaching, medical considerations, and uncertainty in career choice about teaching.

   From 2007 to 2011, just 59.54% of TEGs took teaching jobs, and the rest, 40.46%, went to do jobs elsewhere, said the PNU authors.

   Based on the 2012 Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics survey, teaching jobs in private schools connote lower salary.

   Its salary levels are comparative to those only of bookkeeping clerks, call center agents, and air travel clerks.

   And since these competitor jobs are held in air-conditioned rooms versus non-airconditioned rooms in schools, TEGs preferred to take competitor jobs.

Review of public spending

   For legislation, there should be a review of directions in public spending in order to improve teacher education and a review of teachers’ salaries to attract more TEGs to seriously pursue teaching jobs.

   For the national government, it should suspend or terminate teacher education programs in SUCs with low LET passing rate.

   Very important, government should review  recruitment policies of the Department of Education( DedEd) to speed up hiring process for new teachers.

   Government is also advised to enhance in-service teacher incentives and professional development for DepEd teachers in both public and private schools.

  It should review admission and retention policy for pre-service teachers so that these teachers will commit to a lifelong teaching job and appreciate its nobility.

  It is further suggested that  PNU adopt strategies and programs so that  SUCs and private TEIs (teacher education institutions) with good LET record could help poor SUCs improve on LET performance.

These are other recommended policy improvements of the PNU study:

·         Further studies may be conducted on salary incentives that would attract quality teachers;

·         Other further research may be on reasons for poor LET performance; a benchmarking study on admissions policy on teacher education in both government and private SUCs; and the development and standardization of teaching aptitude examination for Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) nationwide;

·         Give incentives to teachers primarily in the form of a more attractive compensation;

·         Adopt policies in some OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation Development) countries as the US that offer loan condonation and signing bonuses to teachers;

·         Adopt other developed country practices to retain teachers including offering scholarships, special allowances, free computer, and free housing and accommodation;

·         Adopt incentives as those for new teachers in South Korea which include pre-employment training on classroom management, student counselling and teacher tasks; instructional guidance;  student aptitude guidance; and supervision of clerical work;

·          Adopt a recommendation from the 2011 International Summit on Teaching Profession that stressed the importance of boosting image of teachers and creating a professional working environment for them in order to attract more qualified teachers;

·         Exclude qualified candidates for teacher education students from paying entrance examination fees and from filing some costly requirements (such as original NSO birth certificate), and application fee payments;

·         Adopt policies institutionalizing best practices such as an MMSU (Mariano Marcos State University ) program offering scholarships for teacher education to honor high school graduates— valedictorian, salutatorian, first to third honourable mention from a class of 50 or more students;

·         Review current DepED prohibition for teachers to teach in another school which perhaps must be applied only on permanent teachers but not on temporary teachers in order to help them enhance income;

·         Cut further hiring period of DepEd since division heads are given this responsibility, ”taking several layers of authority” which is why some teaching applicants just grab other jobs that are available. DepEd may have claimed that it reduced hiring period from 8 to 3 months in 2013.  But the study skipped the fact that some TEGs are first employed as volunteer teacher or as local government-funded teacher (prior to DepEd hiring);

·          Adopt a compensation policy based on workload since some teachers shifted to jobs that are more “time-bound” (compared to teaching, a never-ending job where lesson preparation and grading reports have to be brought home).

   “This particular result mirrored what have caused the “teacher loss phenomenon” in some countries like in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom… Based on the results of these studies, teacher workload was identified as the common denominator when teachers were asked why they leave their professions,” said the PNU study.   (Growth Publishing for PNU).