Gatchalian Files Bill Seeking Reforms To Improve Teacher Education

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Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a bill that aims to improve teacher education in the country through reforms in the Teacher Education Council (TEC).

Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 1887 amends Republic Act No. 7784, the law that created the TEC, which seeks to achieve better coordination between the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), ensure the link and coherence between pre-service education and in-service education, and improve teacher education outcomes. Pre-service refers to the training and education before becoming classroom teachers while in-service education covers those already working as teachers.

The TEC will set basic requirements and accredit teacher education programs in accordance with professional standards. These standards should be approved by the Department of Education (DepEd) or adopted by the TEC to set out expectations for professional practice of teachers and school heads. The TEC will also be tasked to evaluate Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) annually based on its prescribed standards.

The proposed measure also strengthens the TEC Secretariat by creating new offices. The Quality Teaching Office and the Quality School Leadership Office will ensure fair and consistent application of professional standards for teachers and school leaders respectively. The Quality Pre-Service Teacher Education Office will designate centers of excellence for teacher education, while the Research and Training Office will undertake research directed at teachers and school leaders. The Finance and Administration Office will also be formed to oversee matters such as human resources and financial functions.

The bill also institutionalizes the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP), DepEd’s professional development arm, to provide and streamline professional development of teachers and school leaders.

According to Gatchalian, the dismal results of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) in recent years add urgency on the need to improve the country’s teacher education quality. From 2014 to 2019, LET results show that the average passing rate was only 28 percent for the elementary level and only 36 percent for the secondary level.

“Kailangang siguruhin natin na ang kaalaman, pagsasanay, at kahandaan ng mga guro ay naaangkop sa pangangailangan ng mga mag-aaral upang maiangat din ang kalidad ng edukasyon na natatanggap ng mga bata,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

Considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bill mandates TEC to lay out plans that will ensure learning continuity during school closures, prolonged class suspensions, emergencies, or crises. Upholding the welfare of teacher and school heads will also become a function of the TEC under the proposed measure.

Gatchalian’s bill also expands the TEC to include the heads of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and the Philippine Normal University (PNU) which is the national center for teacher education.

“Ang pagsusulong natin ng reporma sa Teacher Education Council ay mahalagang hakbang upang magpatuloy din ang edukasyon sa mga guro at nang sa gayon ay maiangat ang kalidad ng edukasyon ng mga mag-aaral lalo na sa panahong bumabangon tayo mula sa pinsala ng COVID-19.

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