Gatchalian renews call for gov't mechanisms to improve teachers' education, training

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday renewed his call for the government to put in place mechanisms that will help improve the quality of teachers’ education and training to boost students' learning.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, said he finds the low passing rates of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) alarming and in dire need of intervention to boost their education.

The senator pointed out that the Philippines ranked lowest in Reading Comprehension and second lowest in Science and Math in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) among 79 countries.

A study by the World Bank Group and Australian Aid also showed that except for English elementary teachers, the average elementary or high school teacher in the Philippines can correctly answer fewer than half of questions on subject content tests.

The lawmaker said he believes the key to addressing teacher education woes is to align their pre-service education with the needs of the Department of Education (DepEd).

DepEd, he noted, is practically the primary end-user of graduates of Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).

“At the end of the day, what we want is better outcomes for our learners. Better outcomes come from better inputs, and teacher quality and teacher education are part of those better inputs,” Gatchalian said.

“DepEd has almost 85 percent of our students and close to 75 percent of our teachers. So my analysis is that we fix and strengthen our public school system, we strengthen the entire country,” he added.

During a Senate hearing, the Professional Regulation Commission Board for Professional Teachers, Chairman Dr. Rosita Navarro, disclosed that from 2014-2017, the passing rate was only 48.86 percent for first-time LET takers for the secondary level, while at the elementary level, the passing rate among first-time LET takers for the same period was 30.65 percent.

The passing rate for both elementary and secondary level was at 43.44 percent.

She said last year’s passing rates were equally dismal. For elementary, the passing rate for those who took the LET in March, 2019, was 27.29 percent, and 31.34 percent for those who took the exams in September, 2019.

For the secondary level, the passing rate for LET takers in March, 2019, was 25.95 percent, and 39.69 percent for those who took the September, 2019 LET exams.