Let the ‘best and the brightest’ teach: Advocacy group lauds support to teacher education scholarship

Published April 17, 2021, 10:43 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

If the Philippines wants to attract the “best and the brightest” to teach, an advocacy group underscored the importance of honing future teachers in the country.

“An overwhelming majority of our students are not proficient in a number of subject areas,” said Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) Executive Director Love Basilllote in a statement issued April 16.

She explained that the connection between teachers’ competence and the academic achievement of students. “It is clear that we need to work on how we recruit and train our teachers so that our students can learn properly,” she added.

As such, PBEd welcomed and expressed support to a proposed scholarship program which aims to hone the country’s future teachers.

“We are glad that our legislators support the creation of a scholarship program for future teachers,” Basillote said – referring to Senate Bill No. 2134 or the Teacher Education for Achievers (TEACH) Bill filed by Senator Joel Villanueva.

The said bill aims to provide generous financial support to aspiring teachers covering tuition and other school fees, living allowance, even Board review and licensure fees, among others. The incentives under the program aim to develop high-achiever students as effective teachers.

In its explanatory note, SBN 2134 noted that teachers have to be prepared academically, socially, and psychologically. To meet this objective, TEACH Bill provides for a mentorship program where grantees will be guided by vetted and qualified mentors.

“This bill is crucial if we want to attract the best and the brightest to teach here in the Philippines,” Basillote added.

SBN 2134 noted that while there are many initiatives granting financial assistance to targeted beneficiaries, none gave priority to producing high-quality teachers for the primary and secondary education system.

Given this, PBEd is hopeful that the scholarship for future teachers will be implemented by 2022.

“We call on both Houses of Congress to hear the TEACH bills immediately,”  Basillote said. “Given the learning crisis, we believe that this bill should be certified as urgent,” she added.