12-year data track poor training of PH teachers
The quality of education that future teachers are getting needs a lot of improvement as more than half of the schools training them fare poorly in the annual licensure exams for educators, a private sector-led advocacy group said on Thursday.
The Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), founded and financed by the country’s top business leaders, highlighted in a media briefing the need to upgrade teacher quality in the country given the direct correlation of teaching to the performance of students.
PBEd executive director Justine Raagas cited the 2022 research done by the government’s socioeconomic-policy think tank Philippine Institute for Developmental Studies (PIDS), which stated that low teacher qualification was a major factor in the low-quality education and poor performance of students.
A team of PBEd researchers analyzed 12 years’ worth of licensure examination for teachers (LET) data from the website of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and merged these with other data points from the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).
Based on their findings, Raagas said that 56 percent of the schools nationwide offering teacher education had below-average passing rates in the licensure exam since 2010.
“Poor performance (in LET) puts teacher quality into question,” Raagas said.
Diane Fajardo, PBEd deputy executive director, said they had done a similar study back in 2013 which yielded the same results after nine years.
“Nothing changed … [the] PRC never tracks [the performance] so hopefully, we can turn this over to them and then yearly they can track it,” she said.
The study also found that the overall passing rate of LET examinees was lower compared to that of other courses, such as architecture, nursing, civil engineering and accountancy.
Moreover, only 2 percent of schools offering teacher education were classified as high-performing, PBEd said, noting that the government should consider closing down the education programs of low-performing schools.
The study defined high-performing schools as those with LET passing rates of at least 75 percent.
Of the 111 schools under the classifications of Center of Excellence (COE) and Center of Development (COD), more than 81 percent of COEs and 91 percent of CODs were not high performing in the licensure exams.
“Contrary to expectations … high passing rates do not seem to be sustained by all COEs and CODs,” the study said.
One of CHEd’s criteria to accredit schools as COE or COD was to rank in the top 10 and top 20 in the licensure exams, respectively, for three consecutive years.
“By being accredited, COEs and CODs are already assumed to have met the standards imposed by CHEd, which might have encouraged complacency,” the research said.
However, these institutions were not able to sustain high passing rates, it said, citing Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College, a COD that recorded an average overall passing rate of only 13.8 percent for secondary teacher licensure exams from 2010 to 2022.
The results also suggested that first-time takers had higher passing rates than repeaters.
“Alternatively, this means that there is a higher likelihood of failure among those who retake the exam,” the study said.
It further noted the regional disparities in passing rates, wherein institutions from Luzon performed better compared to their counterparts in Mindanao that had the lowest regional passing rate, driven by the extremely low score of schools from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
It said that 45 percent, or 98 out of 217 schools in Mindanao, were “low-performing,” while first-time takers in the BARMM performed “just as bad as repeaters.”
“We want to improve teacher quality both in preservice, or while they are still studying, and in-service, when they are already teaching,” Raagas said.
PBEd policy and advocacy manager Jose Andoni Santos laid down their policy recommendations, which included focusing on building more and maintaining COEs per region and strictly monitoring their performance.
Santos said that the curriculum of teacher education and questions in licensure exams must also be reviewed in relation to the Department of Education’s professional standards for teachers.
He added that the government could also consider closing down the education programs in low-performing schools, particularly those that consistently performed poorly year after year, and implement a “three-strike rule” for repeaters.
Santos also highlighted the urgent need to develop and publish data that would help measure the performance of schools for those taking up education.
PBEd officials expressed hope that their study could act as a catalyst to improve teacher education in the Philippines.
“Our teachers are heroes but we just can’t expect them to be resilient and to push on despite the lack of support. We have to give them the proper support, ensure that they will possess the skills that they will need and that they will have the materials that they need,” Santos said.
He also noted that PBEd’s study showed only a small part of what was needed to improve teacher quality.
“There’s really a lot of teacher quality interventions needed and we hope that this is the start,” he said.
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