Points of View on the Budget
|Antonio L. Tinio, Representative, ACT TEACHERS Party-List|
Official statement of Kabataan Partylist on the passage of the 2013 General Appropriations Bill on third reading in the House of Representatives
A Conversation I had on FacebookAngel de Dios: In my perspective, education reform cannot take place if we do not address first the plight of teachers. When teachers are preoccupied with fighting for just salaries, I do not think any reform would work at all. No changes in curriculum will help if teachers are unable to support their families. The second point is that curricular reform in basic education requires leadership and direction from higher education. This will not take place without an increase in research productivity. Research must always involve peer review so that the data that will be used to form education reform measures are reliable.
Anonymous: I don't think the Philippines public school teachers are of the sorriest lot among our country's professionals. Soldiers and policemen who are required to give off their lives in battlefields and most adverse circumstances are paid much less. And so are midwives and nurses who are more physically burdened. The private school teachers are even most disadvantaged: very few have tenures, many extend teaching hours and related work without overtime pay, and I know of some teaching in ma-pormang schools whose salaries and benefits are lower than the janitors, drivers and messengers of my former office. But they make less noise and their dedicated work shows greater internal efficiency. With higher salaries, allowances and other fringe benefits provided by both local and national government, they are the envy of private school teachers and hence, their heavy exodus to the public schools. Based on the patterns of salary increases and rate of radical politicization, public school teachers will continue to complain and cry of poverty even if you increase their salaries five times more.
Angel de Dios: Your comment highlights the need for research and data. You and I can provide anecdotes that support our own notions. If we are willing to compare Philippine basic education against those of other countries - we must do the same with teachers' salaries and working conditions.
Anonymous: Oh yes, we have the comparative data not only the pay scale but also the progress towards more bearable working conditions. But we must also understand the fiscal position of our government and the competing priorities which are too many. WE cannot make everyone happy, certainly.
Angel de Dios: The costs of a failed basic education program are serious. It leads to great social inequity. Addressing the education problems is within reach. But the longer the government ignores the right solutions, the worse the problems become. It becomes even more expensive.
Anonymous: I fully concur, Angel. I think the current government is a reforming government that wishes to address that.The K-12 is one such massive and intertwined solution to economic, employment and other social problems. That's why we have decided to invest in it even as we are simultaneously attending to the other problems of basic education. But as much as we would like to move that fast, we cannot due to fiscal and other constraints.
Angel de Dios: As pilot cases, efforts are worthwhile. On a national scale, however, the situation is markedly different. Effort is not enough. The wrong reform will cause serious damage and remediation is close to impossible. Mistakes will make the predicament more costly. Education should not be used as a political football. It must come from the ground, initiated by the teachers, and not dictated by politicians.