MANILA, Philippines – College faculty members, professional practitioners and other non-education graduates will be hired to teach in high school with the passage of the law on the new Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K to 12) basic education curriculum.
The K to 12 law, which the Senate and the House of Representatives passed last week, has eased the 1994 rule under Republic Act 7836 wherein only education graduates who have passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) may teach in elementary and high school.
The legislation, which only needs President Benigno Aquino III’s signature to become law, has instead authorized the Department of Education (DepEd) and private high schools to hire even from among non-education graduates to teach science, math and other specialized subjects.
The law gave the DepEd the leeway it had asked for in hiring teachers in critical subject areas like science and math especially in anticipation of the two years of senior high school that was added to the old 10-year basic education curriculum.
The enhanced basic education curriculum now consists of one-year kindergarten, six years of elementary (Grades 1 to 6), four years of junior high school (Grades 7 to 10) and the added two years of senior high school (Grades 11 to 12).
Senior high school will start nationwide in 2016.
With the new law, DepEd can hire graduates of science, math, statistics, engineering, music and such subjects where there is a shortage of qualified applicants from among education graduates who have passed the LET.
Once hired however, they have to take and pass the LET within five years so they could go on teaching full time, according to the law.
They do not have to pass the LET if they will teach part-time.
Graduates of foundations that are duly recognized for their expertise are also qualified to be hired as high school teachers.
Full-time college teachers of general education (GE) subjects may be hired if they wish to apply to teach in high school.
The final version of the law has dropped the provision in the original Senate and House bills that required a master’s degree; the law simply required college teachers who wish to teach in high school to have a bachelor’s degree.
When fourth year high school students do not graduate and remain in senior high school for two years longer, teachers of GE subjects in college will have no one to teach in 2016 and 2017.
To mitigate the expected low enrolment in college starting 2016, the law declared that the faculty of higher education institutions and technical-vocational institutions who are qualified to teach in high school shall be given priority in hiring.
Public and private schools may also hire practitioners with expertise in specialized learning areas to teach in high school on a part-time basis.
Graduates of technical and vocational courses shall also be hired to teach in specialized subjects in high school, regardless of an LET certificate.
They only need a competence certification from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to qualify.
Once hired, they will be given training to teach in high school at the expense of DepEd.