Thu. May 26th, 2022

Our schools today face enormous challenges.

In response to an increasingly complex society and a rapidly-changing technology-based economy, teachers are being asked to educate the most diverse student body in our history to higher academic standards that ever before.

By signing into law the Excellence in Teacher Education Act, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte set a milestone that not only puts our educators to highest priority but empowers them with the mechanism to achieve the vital goals of their profession.

By doing so, the President acknowledges that tired ways of the past can no longer be achieved through management systems, testing mandates or curriculum packages at all. Teachers learn best by studying, doing and reflecting, by collaborating with other teachers, by looking closely at students and their work, sharing what they see, and progressively improving themselves.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, a staunch advocate for quality education and a member of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, said the President understands this challenge with a sense of urgency and priority.”

Republic Act (RA) No. 11713 seeks to strengthen teacher education in the Philippines by revamping the Teacher Education Council (TEC) and establishing a scholarship program for aspiring teachers that applies to teachers and school leaders in all public and private primary education institutions and all public and private technical education institutions (TEIs).

Go said the law seeks to nurture the country’s educators to ensure that they are equipped and ready to create a more conducive and effective learning environment for their students.

The senator explained that the new law mandates the creation of Teacher Education Centers of Excellence (Teacher Education-COEs) in strategic places in every region of the country.

The law provides that such centers must have a “highly educated, professionally qualified and experienced faculty recognized in their fields of study, exhibiting best practices in excellence in the education sector, integrity, commitment, promotes Filipino culture, and dedicated to the philosophy, mission, vision, and goals of the institution and education.”

A review and evaluation cycle comes every three years to ensure that it continues to possess the criteria prescribed.

Bong Go qualifies that the centers must develop high standards of conduct in research and innovation on teacher education, publish research papers in local or international refereed journals, and facilitate their accessibility and dissemination to TEIs and concerned agencies.

Such other criteria as may be established and operationalized by the Council, which will be chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) and vice-chaired by the chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)

The new law establishes a Teacher Education Scholarship Program (TESP) for deserving basic education graduate and tertiary level students to pursue undergraduate teacher education degree programs in all Teacher Education-COEs.

Senator Go explains that the financial assistance under the TESP shall include the following, depending on the needs of the grantee: Free tuition and other school fees; Allowance for prescribed books, supplies, and learning materials; Research support grant; Clothing or uniform allowance; Allowance for dormitory or boarding house accommodation; Transportation allowance; Thesis, defense, or project allowance; Research publication fee, if applicable; Licensure examination review fees; Licensure fees, and other education-related miscellaneous subsistence or living allowance.

“Habang ang mga kabataan ang pag-asa ng ating kinabukasan, napaka importante po talaga na pangalagaan natin ang ating mga guro dahil sila po ang pangunahing maghuhulma sa ating mga kabataan,” stressed Go.

The Council shall determine the TESP and the eligibility criteria and conditions for acceptance and disqualification from the program.

National Educators’ Academy of the Philippines

The law institutionalizes the National Educators’ Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) to provide quality professional development programs on teacher education to in-service teachers, school leaders, and other teaching-related personnel in all primary education institutions.

The NEAP shall employ a “world-class approach to professional development based on strong evidence and research.”

In sum, Go thanked Senator Win Gatchalian as the prime mover behind the law that elevates teacher education as a linchpin for our nation’s future: “Sa kanyang determinadong liderato, nagkamit ang ating mga guro ang makabagong pagsulong para paghubog ng kinabukasan ating bansa.”

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