As the country’s biggest employer of teachers, the Department of Education issued a position paper supporting the proposed amendment of RA 7784 or the TEC law through Senate Bill No. 1887. DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio read the statement at the Senate hearing on the amendatory bill on 10 December 2020. Read the full text below.

DepEd Undersecretary Diosdado M. San Antonio

DepEd Position Paper on SB No. 1887

This refers to Senate Bill No. 1887 or “An Act Enhancing The Quality Of Basic Education In The Philippines By Improving The Quality Of Teachers And School Leaders, Strengthening The Teacher Education Council Under Republic Act No. 7784, Entitled “An Act To Strengthen Teacher Education In The Philippines By Establishing Centers Of Excellence, Creating A Teacher Education Council For The Purpose, Appropriating Funds Therefor, And For Other Purposes”, Institutionalizing The National Educators Academy Of The Philippines, And Appropriating Funds Therefor” (TEC Act).

Over the recent years, the country has made significant gains in access to education. As of SY 2019-2020, we have 61,923 public and private schools in various levels from K to 12, catering to 27,030,391 learners from formal Kinder to Senior High School. Of this, DepEd accounts for 47,188 schools, catering to 21,833,051 learners. Our participation rates are already very high not only for the elementary, but also for the secondary level. While there has been a dip in the enrollment this School Year, we regard this as an extraordinary year in light of COVID-19, and we expect the enrollment to normalize when the COVID-19 situation resolves.

The biggest challenge in basic education today is quality, as evidenced by our historical record in the national large scale assessment (National Achievement Test or NAT), and our performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment or PISA which we joined for the first time in its 2018 round, and other international large scale assessments that we joined.

We agree with the observation by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that there are many factors that need to be analyzed and strategically address. On the part of DepEd under the present administration, it has embarked on a program called Sulong Edukalidad, comprising four reform pillars as folloes: K to 12 curriculum review and update; Improving the learning environment; Teachers’ upskilling and reskilling; and Engagement of stakeholders for support and collaboration.

Within the pillar of Teachers’ upskilling and reskilling, the main program of DepEd is the transformation of the National Educators’ Academy of the Philippines (NEAP). The NEAP is the entity within DepEd envisioned under Letter of Instructions 1487 (Institutionalizing A Revitalized Program of Teacher In-Service Training in the Public Schools) and subsequent issuances by the Office of the President and DepEd to supervise the in-service professional development of teachers and school leaders. The transformation of NEAP is already ongoing implementation, involving the upgrade and expansion of its staffing complement, and the integration of the in-service professional development program through a stringent recognition process of professional development courses, trainings and activities.

We believe, however, that our reforms within basic education, including in-service professional development, is ideally complemented with continuing reforms and upgrade of teacher preparation pre-service. This area is in the main overseen CHED as to higher education offering teacher education, and by the PRC with respect to licensure. Similar to in-service professional development, pre-service should also be able to keep abreast with developments in national and global education standards to adequately prepare teachers for the evolving and growing responsibilities of teaching in basic education.

It is in this context that the Department of Education welcomes and support the proposed legislation, spearheaded by Sen Win Gatchalian, that seeks to update the mandate of the Teachers Education Council. We also acknowledge the work by the Technical Working Group on Teacher Quality headed by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles that is contributing to the discussion of areas for reforms.

The coordination and inter-agency programming function to ensure a responsive pre-service education is lodged under the TEC. Senate Bill No. 1887, and other similar measures, provides the legal foundation towards strengthening the link between the pre-service and the in-service with the additional powers and functions provided to TEC.  It ensures that the indicators in the first career stage or the Beginning Teacher Indicators are seamlessly connected to the expectations of DepEd for newly-hired teachers.

With respect to specific provisions of the Bill, DepEd adopts the TEC position as agreed within the council in its meetings, and submitted to the Committee. In addition to the TEC position, we make the following further comments or recommendations:

  • The term of office of the Regular members of TEC be increased from three (3) years to five (5) years to give ample time for the members to develop the program and projects, monitor its implementation and recommend ways to improve the programs and policies.
  • As also concurred in by TEC, we propose the deletion of item M, Section 7, in the SB 1887: Lay out plans that ensure continuity of learning during school closures or prolonged class suspensions caused by a public health emergency, natural or man-made calamity or disaster, and other emergency or crisis, through the adoption of alternative delivery modalities such as modular and online learning and blended learning.

During this pandemic, DepEd has issued DepEd Order No. 12, s. 2020 or the Adoption of the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan for School Year 2020-2021, to ensure that education is not disrupted amid the health emergency. We believe that DepEd, instead of TEC, is the appropriate agency to develop and implement these guidelines for basic education.

  • As stated in the TEC position, no agreement was reached on the inclusion of the President of Philippine Normal University (PNU) as a Council’s Ex Officio member. Thus, individual members may make their own stand on the representation of PNU.

On the part of DepEd, we support the inclusion of the President of Philippine Normal University (PNU) among the Council’s Ex Officio members. This proposal may be anchored on RA 9647, which is an Act designating PNU as the country’s national center for teacher education. Among the functions added to PNU under this act is to provide technical assistance to both DepEd and CHED on teacher training, teacher education, and teacher curricula. It is also mandated to conduct researches to enhance curriculum and training designs for teacher training, teacher education, and continuing professional education of teachers. Thus, its inclusion in the TEC will provide an integrated direction setting for the performance of its mandate under RA 9647.

  • As also agreed in TEC, we propose that the creation of the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) under Section 12 be taken up instead in a separate bill. DepEd would submit to the Committee elements of NEAP institutionalization through legislation that would capture the key components of and lessons from the ongoing NEAP transformation.

To reiterate, DepEd welcomes the update of the existing TEC Law, to make it more responsive to the evolving standards of education quality.

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As the country's biggest employer of teachers, the Department of Education issued a position paper supporting the proposed amendment of RA 7784 or the TEC law through Senate Bill No. 1887. DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio read the statement at the Senate hearing on the amendatory...