A blog that tackles issues on basic education (in the Philippines and the United States) including early childhood education, the teaching profession, math and science education, medium of instruction, poverty, and the role of research and higher education.
Should We Hire or Train Teachers?
With the extension of basic education in the Philippines from ten years to K to 12, plus a growing population, there is an obvious need for additional teachers. It is one reason why some argue that the Philippines should have started K to 12 only at kindergarten and not at first year high school. This would then have given ample time for the government to prepare for the two additional years in high school. If only those who finished kindergarten in 2013 are expected to go through the entire new curriculum then the government has at least ten years to prepare for the senior high school years. Unfortunately, the government has chosen a half-baked approach, forcing grade seven students into the new K to 12 curriculum four years ago. As a result, the challenges of both a low enrollment in higher education and a shortage of teachers have come too soon. With these difficulties, the government once more has chosen to take a band aid approach. DepEd secretary Briones is planning to use more than 15 billion pesos to hire teachers in 2017.
Teachers need to be trained specifically to teach especially with a new curriculum. Without the training, a professional often returns to how he or she was taught. Classroom instruction likewise requires much more than having the knowledge and skills in a subject for teaching entails establishing a relationship with students. Simply hiring professionals who have never been trained for teaching is not necessarily a good approach and in the state of Utah, this in fact is very contentious.
Billions of pesos should be used to attract and train new teachers. The government can use the money to support aspiring teachers through scholarships and stipends especially in subject areas where the shortage is much more serious. This is not a band aid approach but one that demonstrates ample planning and a clear long term vision. Doing otherwise simply wastes time and money. Moreover, it does not make sense to claim upgrading the standards of learning while downgrading the standards of teaching.