Recognizing their crucial role in the success of education delivery among Filipino learners, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Monday, Jan. 30, said that teachers will be given more support so they can teach better.
“Teachers are critical to the success of education,” Duterte said during the presentation of the Basic Education Report (BER) 2023. “When they are supported, education quality improves,” she added.
As she recognized the “zeal, integrity, commitment, and passion” as well as the sacrifices of Filipino teachers, Duterte assured them that the current administration will prioritize their well-being.
“We thank you for your sacrifices... maraming salamat po sa inyong dedikasyon (thank you for your dedication). Hindi po namin kayo pababayaan (We will not abandon you),” Duterte said.
Challenges in teaching
Duterte explained that teachers remain the “lifeblood” of the DepEd.
“Without our teachers, our mission to carve a better future for our children will fail,” she said.
However, Duterte noted that among the challenges faced by DepEd is the need to focus on upscaling the knowledge and capacities of teachers as public servants.
The “weak teaching methods of our teachers in addressing 21st-century skills,” Duterte said, has been reflected in the assessment of the K to 12 curriculum.
Citing studies done by the Research Center for Teacher Quality, the World Bank, and UNICEF, Duterte pointed out that teachers “need further support” --- particularly in “explicitly and strategically” teaching critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
“While critical thinking was the most evident in the curriculum, it was also the least taught to students by teachers,” Duterte said. “Instead, lessons leaned towards conceptual or content-based teaching,” she added.
To address this concern, Duterte underscored the need for teachers to return to the classrooms and teach instead of being burdened with “backbreaking and time-consuming administrative tasks” wherein there is “no adequate support and robs them of the opportunity to professionally grow and professionally teach, assist, and guide our learners.”
Focus on teachers
To give ample support for teachers, Duterte noted that under the “MATATAG” agenda, DepEd continuously provides professional development programs --- including graduate degree scholarship programs to teachers focusing on their learning area specialization and graduate certificate programs for non-majors.
“We will provide support in terms of innovative, responsive, and inclusive teaching approaches following the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST),” Duterte said. “We will capacitate our teachers and learners in utilizing technology in remote learning to maximize the benefits of digital learning,” she added.
Moreover, Duterte said that DepEd will provide training and other learning and development interventions for school leaders such as the school heads, supervisors, superintendents, and assistant superintendents, “so that they can better support our teachers to teach better.”
Duterte also vowed that DepEd will remove non-teaching tasks and provide administrative officers in schools. “We will provide adequate manpower complement in schools, manage teachers' workload, and compensate teachers for unique school challenges,” she added.
DepEd, she added, will also fast-track the implementation of the career progression policy “so teachers get more opportunities for promotion.”
Likewise, Duterte said that DepEd will “strictly implement” the Merit Selection Policy so that HR recruitment, selection, and appointment to vacant positions in the agency are based on key knowledge, skills, attitudes, and desired behaviors, and “not due to any form of intervention from other government personnel or similar entities outside” of the department.
Within the year, Duterte said that DepEd also aims to make the new Teacher Education Council and Secretariat “fully functional and start working on its mandates, including setting minimum requirements for pre-service teacher education programs in the country.”
More importantly, Duterte said that DepEd continuously advocates for additional benefits for teachers.
“We will implement the policy on the distribution of teacher workload and payment of teaching overload, as provided in the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers,” Duterte said.
DepEd, she added, has also requested the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to expand the coverage for the grant of Special Hardship Allowances.
“We will work towards addressing issues affecting the net-take-home pay of teachers,” she said, adding that DepEd is also discussing with the Department of Health (DOPH) the provision of free annual physical examinations for our teachers.
DepEd, Duterte said, is closely coordinating with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for an “improved and superior benefits package” for all DepEd personnel.
“We will resolve issues on teachers’ loans, premium remittances, and other benefits,” Duterte said, noting that they have committed to meeting at least once a month until these issues have been resolved.
“Lastly, we are looking to provide free legal assistance facility for teachers on matters concerning loan contracts, obligations, and cases,” she added.