Lawmaker favors early retirement for teachers
MANILA, Philippines—A party-list lawmaker is all for compelling public school teachers to retire five years earlier as this would make way for a younger and more energetic teaching workforce and allow the retirees more time to enjoy the fruits of their labor and pursue other interests.
Party-list House member Silvestre Bello III (1-BAP) has filed a bill to fix the compulsory retirement age of public school teachers at 60, from the current 65, and the optional retirement age at 55, from the current 60.
Bello claimed the measure would benefit both the young graduates who want to teach in the public schools and the senior teachers who would be retiring.
He noted that 15 percent of elementary school teachers in the country, or about 62,000, are more than 60 years old.
According to Bello, older teachers may find it difficult to deal with the taxing demands of the job, especially with the problems besetting public education.
“With longer working hours and larger class sizes than our neighbor countries, these older teachers are unlikely to have the time, energy and opportunity to have other pursuits or equip themselves with higher skills to be abreast with modern teaching methods and technology, or at least to prepare for alternative livelihoods to cross over to when they retire,” he said in the explanatory note to his bill.
He said there was a pool of young graduates who could join the workforce when the more senior public school teachers retire earlier.
Every year, there are some 14,000 newly licensed teachers, he noted. But with senior teachers still holding many teaching posts, a lot of these new graduates have to turn to other jobs, thus depriving the public schools of their youthful energy and new teaching methods, he said.
But if his bill is approved, Bello said, more slots would be freed up to make way for the young teaching graduates who would have greater energy and the mental agility to deal with large classes.
A younger workforce is usually more technology-savvy, and could use this for greater efficiency and productivity, Bello said.
Older teachers also usually have higher salaries, so having them retire earlier could free up more funds to hire more young teachers with lower pay, Bello said.
He said that based on research data from the United States, early retirement for teachers lead to higher test scores for children. One possible reason for this is that new and younger teachers have more effective teaching practices or are more energetic in experimenting and finding other methodologies to match their students’ aptitude levels, Bello said.
A younger retirement age would also mean that retirees would be able to enjoy many more good and healthy years and savor the fruits of their labor, said Bello. They could spend more time with their families or pursue other pursuits, such as travel or entrepreneurship, he said. They could also become consultants in private institutions where their years of experience could be put to good use, Bello said.
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