Sara Duterte urged to fix delays stalling work of Teacher Education Council

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Sara Duterte urged to fix delays stalling work of Teacher Education Council
In this photo shared on Facebook on May 25, 2024 shows Vice President Sara Duterte at Panabo Multi-Purpose, Tourism, Cultural, and Sports Center in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.
Facebook / Inday Sara Duterte

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE: June 12, 2024, 2:52 p.m.) — A national government body tasked with drafting a new roadmap for training future educators remains unable to fulfill its mandate due to apparent appointment delays from Vice President and Department of Education Secretary Sara Duterte.

Private sector group Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) on Tuesday urged Duterte, as the chairperson of the Teachers' Education Council (TEC), to appoint the officials needed for the council to function, two years after its implementing law (Republic 11713) was signed.  

"We cannot afford any more delay in this matter," PBed said.

RA 11713 or the Excellence in Teacher Education Act, signed into law by former President Rodrigo Duterte in 2022, broadens the mandate and functions of the TEC. 

Under the law, the TEC is responsible for drafting a roadmap for teacher education, setting requirements for teacher education programs and recommending strategies to attract the best and the brightest to the teaching profession.
The law was passed as a response to the years-long dismal performance of teacher education institutes (TEIs) in the country — one of the priority areas currently being studied by the Second Congressional Commission on Education (Edcom 2) due to the crucial role teachers play in addressing the country's learning crisis.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate basic education panel, called the teacher "the most important factor in education" in a statement hailing the passage of RA 11713 in 2022.

Over half or 56% of all TEIs perform below average in the annual licensure exam for teachers in elementary and secondary education, according to a 2023 PBed study.

“It has been two years since the law was signed and a year since implementing rules and regulations has been published. The enhancements proposed in the law have not been fully realized because officials have yet to be appointed to start the necessary work,” PBed Executive Director Justine Raagas said.

Philstar.com has reached out to the Department of Education and will update this story with their response.

'Work could have begun sooner'

PBed also pointed out that Edcom 2 and the Research Institute for Teacher Quality has gone ahead with their profiling study on TEIs to assess the quality of teacher education schools in the country, even without the TEC's participation. 

"The work could have begun sooner" had the TEC already appointed officials, Raagas said.

“The policy is already here. Any further delay in its full enforcement is causing our learners to miss out,” Raagas added.

Raagas added that while DepEd has efforts to support teachers, operationalizing the TEC is a "necessary step towards realizing the improvement of teacher education in the country."

The PBed executive director also said that the TEC was necessary to address issues of lack of coordination between government agencies on implementing teacher education programs and assessing the quality of graduates.

This includes fixing the alignment between the Professional Regulation Commission and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on the content of the annual board exam for teachers.

Cycle of problems 

In its first medium-term roadmap for education, the Basic Education Development Plan, DepEd acknowledged that the Philippines' education sector faces a critical disconnect between itself and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on teacher training.

While DepEd, as the largest employer of teachers, sets the bar for what it needs from future educators through the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST), this hasn't effectively translated into university curriculum. 

"If the higher education system cannot produce the kinds of teachers the ever-changing environment of basic education needs, some DepEd programs and projects might fail to produce their intended outcomes," DepEd said.

The department said there is a need to go beyond the existing TEC and other ad hoc government committees where education agencies are members.

"The transition to higher education should be seamless and this can only be achieved if both agencies genuinely try to understand each other’s contexts," DepEd added.

Editor's note: After this story was published on June 11,  the Department of Education posted the following statement on its social media channels, confirming that it remains in the process of making appointments to the TEC:
"DepEd has always held the highest regard for teacher quality and has consistently made teacher education a top priority. As chairperson, Vice President and Secretary of the Department of Education Sara Z. Duterte spearheaded multiple meetings of the TEC which included several discussions on the creation, selection process, and appointment of qualified individuals who will be part of the Council Secretariat. Aside from the regular Council meetings, technical meetings were also held with the DBM in relation to the organizational structure and staffing pattern (OSSP) of the TEC Secretariat. As a result of the foregoing,  the proposed organizational structure and staffing pattern (OSSP) of the TEC Secretariat was submitted to the DBM on 25 March 2024. The subject proposal was then approved by the DBM on 21 May 2024. Yesterday, 11 June 2024, the physical copy of the Notice of Organization, Staffing and Compensation Action (NOSCA) was received through the Office of the Undersecretary for Human Resource and Organizational Development (OUHROD).

Contrary to the baseless insinuations made by a certain “advocacy group”, DepEd understands the importance of these appointments for the TEC's functionality and the broader goal of enhancing teacher education and training, in as much as we also understand the need to abide by the proper processes in relation to the creation of new plantilla items in government. We assure our education stakeholders that the appointments will be completed in due course and in accordance with existing rules, as the TEC embarks on its critical work for the benefit of our Filipino teachers."

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