THE Department of Education (DepEd) said it is currently in talks to improve the career path for public school teachers to ensure a steadier progression to the senior rank of Master Teacher.
Education Undersecretary Tonisito M.C. Umali told BusinessWorld the department is currently in talks with the Civil Service Commission to add more positions after the rank of Teacher 3. Public school teachers have three initial (Teacher 1, Teacher 2, and Teacher 3), leaving a large gap before possible promotion to Master Teacher.
“We are also discussing the issue that after teacher 3, there is a huge gap (and we want to make the) career progression of our teachers ay tulu-tuloy (is continuous) Even without a law, we are discussing that right now,” he said.
On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Finance discussed the expenditure program of the DepEd for 2020.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that the department recognizes the problem of the lack of qualified teachers for the K-12 program in public high schools. To improve teacher quality, she proposed adding teacher ranks to ensure steady promotions to encourage the most experienced educators to remain in the service.
“I have looked into their welfare and we have suggested to the CSC to expand the range of teacher positions so our teachers can be promoted,” she said during the hearing.
She said the teacher-student ratio is also a factor since public school teachers tend to handle multiple sections with large class sizes. There are 900,000 public school teachers and 27 million students in the system.
“The question of volume and size must be taken into consideration,” Ms. Briones said.
In DepEd’s proposed 2020 budget it requested P10 billion to pay for an additional 43,313 teachers but only P1.47 billion was granted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), sufficient for 10,000 positions.
Ms. Briones added that the DepEd is in talks with the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to discuss education majors in CHED-supervised schools. DepEd has also expressed its intention to accommodate more teachers for training in the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP).
“We will start with the principals and go down the line. We will have to think of how it will work,” she told reporters.
Senate Committee on Finance Chair Pilar Juliana S. Cayetano said during the hearing that the Senate will support the DepEd in enhancing NEAP’s programs. She said “I would very much fast track the support we can give for the NEAP.” — Gillian M. Cortez