By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) has proposed the addition of four new teaching positions in an effort to recognize the need for teachers to have improved professional growth and opportunities.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones recently announced that DepEd is proposing to add new teaching positions which include Teacher IV, Teacher V, Teacher VI, and Teacher VII with corresponding higher salary grades after the current items of Teacher I, Teacher II, and Teacher III.
Briones said that the proposal has been submitted to the Department and Budget Management (DBM) and to the President for approval. Based on DepEd’s observation, many teachers have been missing out on promotion opportunities due to insufficient teaching positions. For instance, a Teacher I will remain on the same position for years and will only be promoted until after another teacher has retired.
“We have proposed to DBM and the President the creation of these new teaching positions with corresponding salary that depends on their performance,” Briones said. Teachers who “do well” or perform well will have better opportunities to “go up” or be promoted without having to wait for other teachers to retire.
Briones assured that teachers will remain at the forefront in the delivery of quality education. She noted that even as the standards of quality and the way people learn have transformed in the 21st century, “the battle for quality basic education will be fought and won in our classrooms, by our teachers” – thus “it is in the classrooms where the day-to-day learning of our students happen” which is made possible by the teachers.
Briones emphasized that expectations for learning outcomes are “no longer confined to reading, writing, and counting and with myriad types and sources of information available to learners, they “should now be able to read, comprehend, analyze, process, and integrate from multiple sources – whether digital or in print.”
“This is what the 21st century skills in the K to 12 curriculum are all about,” Briones said. “It is not enough for learners to have mastery of concepts and subject matter – they also need to have digital literacy, and have the skills for problem solving and critical thinking,” she added.
Briones underscored anew the role of teachers in the “battle” versus low education quality. She noted that as the DepEd pivots from improving access to enhancing the quality of education, the low proficiency levels attained by Grades 6, 10, and 12 learners in all subject areas and 21st century skills are reflected in the latest National Achievement Test (NAT).
Low proficiency means learners – on average – “were able to correctly answer between three and five questions for every 10 questions in NAT.” Briones noted that the DepEd “already anticipates” the said result to be confirmed by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – which the country joined for the first time in 2018.
Recognizing that education quality is DepEd’s biggest concern to date, she called on all teachers and school leaders for help. “While investing in education has produced major gains in access to education, the evidence is clear that the quality of our learning outcomes leaves so much to be desired,” she said. Given this, she also sought their support to “renew everyone’s commitment and motivation for an all-out effort for quality education.”