Senator Win Gatchalian is eyeing more centers of excellence that will boost the quality of education and training for the country’s aspiring teachers.
In a Senate panel hearing, non-profit organization Philippine Business for Education (PBED) reported that there are only 74 centers of excellence and development among 1,572 Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) in the country.
According to Gatchalian, the government should not simply wait for TEIs’ application to become centers of excellence. He cited the case of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela (PLV) which has yet to apply for the recognition despite being included in the top ten performing institutions in licensure examinations for the past five years.
PLV also produced topnotchers of Licensure Examinations for Teachers (LET) such as Kier Araulo Baugbog who topped the March 2018 licensure exams for the secondary level. Nicko Tumala, another PLV alumnus, ranked fourth in the March 2017 LET for secondary, while Christian Torres Pantoja is one of those who landed on the top nine spot during the September 2015 LET for elementary.
“The government should be proactive in looking for and promoting these centers of excellence which, in effect, will attract the best teachers to go to those centers of excellence,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
“If the government will not be proactive, those centers of excellence will not grow and increase,” he added.
Gatchalian explained that the role of the Teacher of Education Council (TEC) is crucial in increasing the number of centers of excellence for teacher education. The TEC was formed in 1994 under Republic Act No. 7784 to formulate policies on strengthening and improving the quality of teacher education in the country. It is also mandated to identify and designate centers of excellence for teacher education.
A center of excellence is mandated to experiment and try out relevant and innovative teacher education and training programs from pre-service to in-service. Pre-service refers to the education for aspiring teachers while in-service training is for those who are already working as teachers.
Centers of excellence are also tasked to organize and coordinate collaborative research to help improve teacher education programs. These centers should also serve as a teacher resource center for curricular and instructional materials development.
Gatchalian recently filed Senate Bill No. 1887, which aims to strengthen and reform the TEC to foster stronger links between teachers’ pre-service and in-service education, which would entail better collaboration between the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
The lawmaker emphasized that these reforms are all about improving teacher quality and education as basic inputs for better learner outcomes, citing the dismal results of the 2018 Programmme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the poor showing of Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) takers.
The 2018 PISA results showed that out of 79 countries, the Philippines ranked lowest in Reading Comprehension and second lowest in Science and Mathematics. From 2014 to 2019, the average passing for the elementary teacher licensure examinations was only 28 percent and only 36 percent for the secondary level.