Senate Bill No. 2152 / Committee Report 252
Teacher Education Excellence Act
Delivered by the Honorable Win Gatchalian, Senator of the 18th Congress:
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, the most important factor in education is the teacher. Schools are only as good or as bad as their teachers. Even the brightest learner will not reach his or her full potential without passionate and competent teachers to lead the way. For learners struggling to catch up, the teacher is their closest and most influential lifeline.
Sabi nga nila, kahit may angking talino ang isang bata pero kung wala namang lilinang o huhubog sa kanyang kakayahan at gagabay sa kanyang pag-aaral ay hindi rin niya makakamit ang pinakamahusay na edukasyon. Iyan ang papel ng isang guro.
Significantly, the low quality of teachers was one of the indicators identified by the Congressional Committee on Education or EDCOM in its seminal 1991 report as precipitating the declining quality of education in the country back then. With poor teacher training largely to blame, EDCOM recommended that the quality of pre-service and in-service teacher education be improved drastically.
Acting on this recommendation, Congress passed Republic Act No. 7784 in 1993. This law established the Teacher Education Council. The powers of the 11-member council are, broadly, to oversee the designation of Centers of Excellence among teacher education institutions or TEIs, to conduct policy formulation and analysis to strengthen teacher education, and to create programs to enhance teacher education and training, among others. Despite the enactment of RA 7784 and subsequent teacher education policies, it does not appear that the low quality of teachers produced by TEIs has significantly improved since it was first flagged by EDCOM. Between 2010 and 2019, only 35% of secondary education LET takers passed the examination. Only 28% of LET takers at the elementary level passed.
The data also show that the crop of well-qualified teachers is produced by a small proportion of well-performing schools. In 2019, there were only 46 TEIs in the Better Performing and Top Performing categories on the Elementary LET, meaning at least 75% of their graduates who took the Elementary LET passed the exam. In sharp contrast, 815 schools were Worse or Poor Performers with passing rates of less than 50%. At the Secondary Level, there were only 27 Better or Top Performing TEIs and almost 1,000 Worse or Poor Performing schools. This means that roughly four out of every five TEIs nationwide are Worse or Poor Performers, at both the Elementary and Secondary levels.
Mr. President, it is clear that the failure of our teacher education system to produce the highest caliber of educators is one of the driving forces behind the perennial education crisis.
Ang krisis na ito ay nagresulta sa mababang markang nakuha ng ating mga mag-aaral mula sa mga sinalihan nating pandaigdigang pagsusuri. Nahuhuli tayo sa Math at Science noong 2019 sa Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study o TIMSS. Ganun din ang resulta ng Programme for International Student Assessment o PISA noong 2018. Hindi ho ba’t nakakabahala ito, Ginoong Pangulo?
The Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture has devoted much of its time over the past three years to the study of much-needed teacher education reforms. After two public hearings and six intensive technical working group sessions, we are finally ready to sponsor legislation aimed at closing the gaps and overcoming the challenges for the benefit of learner outcomes.
Senate Bill No. 2152 or the Teacher Education Excellence Act proposes to amend RA 7784 to empower the Teacher Education Council to carry out the vision of a dynamic, modern, and equitable education system. The TEC will carry out this mission by charting the nation’s course toward the purposive development of teachers and school leaders of unquestionable integrity and competence, who are committed to their continuing professional growth and obligation to help learners grow as responsible citizens of the Philippines and the world at-large. In sum, this bill seeks to build the structural foundations of a national culture of excellence in teacher education from the ground up. The idea is that ultimately, excellent teachers will guide the way in transforming our education system into a world-class institution.
Under this proposed legislation, the Teacher Education Council will serve as a responsive coordinating institution for the three major government entities involved in teacher education: the Commission on Higher Education, the Professional Regulation Commission, and the Department of Education. Under the Teacher Education Continuum, CHED and PRC serve as pre-service filters by regulating enrollment and graduation requirements in tertiary education courses and qualification to enter the teaching profession via the LET.
DepEd is the primary end-user of teacher education. 847,450 of the country’s 1.1 million teachers are employed in DepEd schools. While DepEd has a significant say regarding in-service education, as it is the primary provider, it does not have much of a say in how pre-service education for its teachers is conducted. DepEd has zero participation in the PRC’s LET. It is only a mere member of the CHED’s Technical Panel on Teacher Education, which sets the Policies, Standards and Guidelines or PSGs for the teaching profession.
In 2017, DepEd developed the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers or PPST. The PPST is meant to standardize the qualifications and competencies of the teaching profession. However, the PPST is only being followed during in-service education because there is no feedback mechanism to CHED and its development of teacher curricula. There is likewise no feedback mechanism between the DepEd and the PRC, which is the institution that should be testing the minimum qualifications and competencies of teachers through the LET. This lack of coordination and unity among agencies involved in the Teacher Education Continuum has turned teacher education into a fragmented and often ineffective sector.
A paper by the Research Center for Teacher Quality of the Philippine Normal University took a more detailed look at the PSGs in comparison with the PPSTs. It found that the alignment of the PSGs with the PPST “could not be placed at more than 50%”. The paper also found that the misalignment between the expectations of DepEd, the end-user, and the PSGs set by CHED have negatively impacted teacher quality after completion of pre-service education.
Again, we have to underline the fact that DepEd employs three-fourths of all Philippine teachers and operates the schools where 86% of Filipino learners at the basic education level are enrolled. As such, DepEd should be given a more powerful voice regarding how teachers are educated. Realigning pre-service and in-service education is essential to improving the quality of our teachers, which in turn will improve the quality of education provided in elementary and secondary classrooms. As Chair of the revamped TEC, DepEd’s voice will surely be heard in crafting more responsive PSGs for teacher education programs. This will strengthen the link between pre-service and in-service education.
Significantly, the revamped TEC will also be responsible for crafting a strategic roadmap for teacher education. This will be the catalyst for systemic quality-driven reforms aimed at further professionalizing the teaching profession and raising its standards of excellence. To emphasize the need for research-intensive, evidence-based reforms, this legislation also appoints the Philippine Normal University – the National Center for Teacher Education under RA 9647 – as the official advisor and research center of the TEC.
Aiming to provide more equitable access to superior pre- service instruction, the bill also seeks to revamp the teacher education Center for Excellence. Currently, there are 34 Centers for Excellence in Teacher Education. This legislation carries the original mandate of RA 7784 to identify, designate, and develop COEs in strategic places in every region, but under a new condition that COEs will also undergo a mandatory review every three years to ensure that they continue to provide the superior level of education required to keep that distinction.
Additionally, this bill also institutionalizes the National Educators Academy of the Philippines or NEAP under DepEd. The NEAP shall provide quality professional development programs on teacher education to in-service teachers, school leaders, and other teaching-related personnel in coordination with the TEC. This will further develop the NEAP into DepEd’s in-service teacher training powerhouse.
The composition of the Council has likewise been amended. DepEd will sit as ex-officio Chair, with CHED as ex-officio Vice-Chair and TESDA and PRC as ex-officio members. The nine presidential appointees will not be allocated based on geographical considerations but will represent a wide range of related institutions, such as public and private school associations, teachers- professors-administrators organization, and others.
Meanwhile, to institutionalize the fundamental oversight role of Congress in teacher education this bill also seeks the establishment of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Teacher Education. The JCOC will be chaired jointly by the basic education committee chairs of both chambers of Congress.
Mr. President, in closing I would like to thank the numerous stakeholders who participated rigorously in this bill’s multi-year legislative process. On the part of government, the participation of DepEd, CHED, PRC, TESDA, NCCA, and NEDA were invaluable. Of course, we must also remember the participation and strong support of the Office of the President itself, through former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. and incumbent CabSec Karlo Nograles, who both proved themselves to be champions of education reform. The participation of Philippine Normal University, the University of the Philippines College of Education, Philippine Business for Education, and the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations was also extremely value-adding.
Mr. President, the Philippine education crisis requires us to put into motion disruptive reforms for the future of education in our country. The performance of our learners on standardized exams as well as education graduates on the LET would not be so poor otherwise. The legislation I am sponsoring today is one of the pivotal reforms needed to train and deploy an army of passionate and competent teachers who will guide the next generation of Filipino leaders taught in public and private schools alike. As such, together with the distinguished co-authors of this measure, Senator Villanueva and Senator Revilla, I hope for the support of the body in approving this education legislation.
Thank you, Mr. President.