/ 20 May 2021

SENATOR Joel Villanueva sought the passage of a major education reform bill that will improve the quality of teaching to reverse the heavy damage brought by the pandemic to education.

Villanueva said improving teacher education, skills and proficiency is a must for the Philippines to navigate a changed and challenging post Covid19 world.

“As we talk about the future, the focus should not just be on infrastructure but most importantly on instruction. We need wired schools, but we must not forget that all these physical advantages will be cancelled if there are no wise teachers,” Villanueva said.

Improving teacher quality was an important national assignment even before the pandemic, he added.

“Thus, we just simply cannot go back to the pre-Covid state of our schools,” Gatchalian said.

In many regional and global testing of learners prior to the pandemic, Filipino students fared miserably in all subjects which should be considered as a wake-up call that something must be done.

Villanueva is one of the authors of the Senate Bill 2152 which was reported out by the Senate committee on basic education that seeks to strengthen the Teacher Education Council.

“In the campaign to improve teacher education, a reinforced and reoriented TEC will serve as the command center that will direct all programs aimed at producing better teachers,” Villanueva said.

One mission of the TEC is to end the low passing rates in the Licensure Examination for Teachers.

“Only 3 out of 10 examinees pass the LET. In 2019, out of the 386,840 aspiring teachers, only 125,082, or a mere 32%, passed,” the senator said.

To address this, Villanueva said there should be harmony between the Commission on Higher Education, Professional Regulation Commission and the Department of Education.

“The division of labor is that CHED issues the guidelines in teacher education. The PRC licenses teachers. The DepEd is the biggest absorber of the talent that CHED and PRC have accredited,” he said.

“The problem is that the pre-service training by CHED, the licensure for service by PRC, and the in-service programs by DepEd do not often follow a seamless progression. This turfing harms teacher development,” he added.