By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Development leaders from the government, academe, industry, and civil society gathered on Wednesday in an effort to examine the state of teacher development in the country.
As part of the 10th anniversary celebration of National Teachers’ Month (NTM), the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) – along with the Australian Embassy and the World Bank Group (WBG) – hosted the 2018 Teachers Quality Forum.
During the forum, participants concurred that improving teacher development pipeline is the key to addressing the demand for quality teachers – particularly in line with the continued implementation of the K to 12 Program by the Department of Education (DepEd).
Raising PH education means raising teacher quality
In his opening remarks, PBEd Chairman Ramon del Rosario said that “global evidence consistently points to teachers as single most important institutional factor for learning.” Thus, to ensure that learners are able to acquire the skills needed to succeed, he noted that “raising teacher quality must come first.”
PBEd noted that with over half a million yearly enrollees over a thousand of teacher education institutions (TEIs), “teacher education remains a popular program in the Philippines.” However, the group explained that this does not necessarily “translate to professional success.”
At 31 percent, PBEd noted that the 10-year average licensure examination for teachers passing rate is the “lowest among all priority disciplines.” The group also noted that the “deployment, induction and professional development remain critical intervention points in the pipeline.”
The making of great teachers
One the highlights of the forum was the presentation of WBG Senior Education Specialist Javier Luque wherein he showed various working global models that the Philippines can adopt in terms of raising the quality of its teachers.
“Teachers are the most important factor in the education process,” said Luque, noting that a “good teacher can get 1.5 years of learning growth” while a “bad teacher get 0.5.” He also explained that “there is teacher talent in most schools.”
Recognizing the importance of content knowledge, Luque noted the need to understand “the differences in content knowledge across countries.” During the presentation, he also shared reform areas and action points for better teacher development. “The point is, we have to find ways to make the job of teachers easier so they can focus more on teaching,” he said. The best systems, he noted, “have strong supporting elements aligned in ways that make the teachers’ job easier.”
Among the action points Luque noted is raising the TEI standards for admission and practical training, granting provisional entry into teaching, and rationalizing professional development which includes the incentive system. “Ensuring the right salaries is important,” he said, noting that both “short term and long term incentives matter.”
Luque noted that systems perform best when “they have teachers who are respected, prepared, selected based on merit and supported in their work.” He added that a “foundational aspect is attracting high-quality candidates into the profession by offering not only a competitive compensation but also an “appealing professional development.”
To be able to improve teacher quality in countries, Luque explained that the “system of support is critical.” He added that a “simple way to generate support is through open-door approaches” which allows peers, school leaders, and other actors to provide support.”
Luque also pointed out some “strong supporting elements” such as an aligned and focused curriculum, streamlined textbooks, time and space for lesson preparation and professional development.”