In a bid to improve the status of the country’s teacher education, Rep. Roman Romulo (Pasig City)—chair of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture (CBEC)—emphasized anew the importance of giving a fresh and stronger mandate to the Teacher Education Council (TEC)  during the committee meeting that consolidated the TEC reform bills in the lower chamber.

At the latest joint meeting by the CBEC and the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE) co-chaired by Rep. Romulo and Rep. Mark Go (Baguio City) on 23 February 2021, committee members approved a substitute bill that consolidated House Bill No. 8441 which Rep. Romulo filed, and House Bill No. 7938 filed by Deputy Speaker Rep. Weslie Gatchalian (Valenzuela City). Both bills seek to amend Republic Act (RA) 7784 or the law that the TEC.

The proposed law seeks to ensure the link and alignment of pre-service education with in-service education, and improve the coordination between the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and other agencies like the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in order to improve teacher education outcomes.

“The reason we are amending this particular law is that the results of the competitive examinations for our students such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM), lahat po yun mababa tayo (all of them reflect low performance for our learners),” Rep. Romulo said during the meeting prior to the approval of the substitute bill. Through this bill, he said “we are trying to address what we call the pre-service teacher education because it’s these pre-service teachers who will eventually become DepEd teachers”.

Rep. Romulo added: “We want a bigger say from DepEd because these pre-service teachers will form part of their army in the future. We want DepEd to be able to say whether those who will make up their workforce are well equipped or not.”

The two committees earlier conducted their joint committee hearing and technical working group (TWG) meeting for the two amendatory bills on 4 February 2021 and 11 February 2021, respectively. Both bills were tackled in detail during the two meetings, including why the power to identify Centers of Excellence (COEs) for Teacher Education should be moved from CHED to the strengthened TEC.

“TEC should handle the COEs,” Rep. Romulo categorically stated, adding that the proposal by CHED to allow both TEC and CHED to select their own COEs is like getting the two agencies “compete against each other”.

“Let’s not confuse everyone. Maawa na tayo sa mga estudyante (Let’s have pity on our learners),” the congressman said. Both DepEd and CHED, he said, can each “make their pitch” at the TEC because they are both part of it.

In support for Rep. Romulo, Rep. Go said that “within the TEC, we have ex officio members that include DepEd and CHED. What we simply need is active participation of the two institutions so that they can really be involved in the determination of schools that are supposed to be considered as COEs or CODs.”

Rep. Romulo further said: “There is no factor of more significance to the educational aptitude and achievement of students apart from our teachers. Although this measure is merely a step towards raising the quality of education for our learners, it is a necessary one to secure their future.”

The approved bill, which also seeks to institutionalize a scholarship program for pre-service teachers, will be scheduled for presentation at the House plenary for discussion and voting.

The TEC amendatory bill was a product of the discussions of the Technical Working Group for Teacher Quality (TWG-TQ), an interagency body led by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles where RCTQ served as a member.

In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte directed the Office of the Cabinet Secretariat headed by Sec. Nograles  to organize a “national effort for quality basic education” and to conduct interagency discussions towards this purpose.

“By amending the TEC law, we will provide a clearer, stronger and more responsive legislative and legal framework that can enable the Teacher Education Council to carry out its original mandate of strengthening teacher education,” Sec. Nograles said at meeting with legislators last year.

At the February 23 joint committee meeting, PNU was invited as a resource organization and was represented by Dr. Bert Tuga, President; Dr. Jennie Jocson, Vice President for Academics; Dr. Ruth Alido, Dean, College of Teacher Development; and Dr. Felicia Yeban, President, PNU Faculty Union/Faculty Regent.

Also invited as resource persons were representatives from the DepEd, CHED, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) – Board of Professional Teachers, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP), Teacher Education Council (TEC), University of the Philippines (UP) – College of Education, Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities (ACSCU), Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAPSCU), Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), Tech-Voc Schools Association of the Philippines, Inc. (TVSA), Association of Local Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (ALCUCOA), Association of Local Colleges and Universities (ALCU), State Colleges and Universities Faculty Regents (SCUFAR) – Region III, Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA), Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC), Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Philippine Elementary School Principals Association (PESPA), Philippine Association of Schools Superintendents (PASS), Philippine Business for Education (PBEd).

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In a bid to improve the status of the country’s teacher education, Rep. Roman Romulo (Pasig City)—chair of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture (CBEC)—emphasized anew the importance of giving a fresh and stronger mandate to the Teacher Education Council (TEC)  during the committee meeting that consolidated...