Gatchalian underscores PNU’s role in passing TEC reform bill at Senate’s interpellation of SB 2152
The period of interpellations for Senate Bill No. 2152 or the Teacher Education Excellence Act concluded on 4 August 2021 with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian acknowledging the role of the Philippine Normal University (PNU) in pushing for the said reform.
“Let me just thank various stakeholders and put emphasis on the Philippine Normal University who spearheaded the passage of this bill. It started when they explained to the Office of the President the grave issues surrounding our teachers and teacher education, and then that explanation went to various consultations. At the end, they crafted the legislation that is needed in order to make sure that our teachers are put in focus,” said Sen. Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, and author of the proposed Senate bill.
Since 2017, RCTQ has provided technical assistance to the Malacanang-led Technical Working Group for Teacher Quality (TWG-TQ) led by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary including the drafting of the reform bill which PNU submitted to legislators.
On 4 November 2020, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles delivered an opening message at the Senate hearing on the said reform bill where he echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s support for the proposed legislation.
“The executive branch is right behind and fully supportive of this bill as directed by the President himself in our 43rd Cabinet meeting,” Nograles said.
RCTQ Director Dr Gina Gonong served as a resource person together with Dr Jennie Jocson, PNU Vice President for Academics, during the series of Technical Working Group (TWG) and education committee hearings for three Senate bills which were later consolidated as Senate Bill 2152.
At the Senate plenary sessions on August 3 and 4, Senator Pia Cayetano led the interpellation of the proposed bill which is also co-sponsored by Sen. Joel Villanueva—chair of the Senate Committee on Higher, and Technical and Vocational Education. On August 4, Senate President Vicente Sotto III approved the motion made by Majority Leader Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri to close the period of interpellations.
Sen. Zubiri also manifested his request to co-author SB 2152, saying “I totally believe in the advocacy of my two colleagues Sen. Gatchalian and Sen. Villanueva on education, and the only way to do that is through teacher education and training. That way, we can give out quality education to our students. If we have an excellent setup, we’ll also have excellent students.”
Sen. Cayetano expressed her support for the measure. She recommended including the idea of ladderized education which, she said, could possibly be used for teachers’ education.
Sen. Cayetano also floated the idea of including the role of para teachers or teacher assistants in the bill. She also proposed incentivizing good teachers or potential teachers so that more graduates will be attracted to go into the teaching profession.
Sen. Gatchalian added: “This bill is all about teachers and we will make sure that not only do we address the needs of our teachers through salaries and other support services, but most importantly through their education. The four years they spend in college will be worthwhile. So again, to put emphasis, the heart and soul are the teachers and this bill will put focus on how they will be educated and how they will be trained.”
Sen. Villanueva, in his message, likened teachers to Olympic athletes who also need to be given proper education and training.
“We need continuous training for our teachers because the rule of thumb for higher education is that the bachelor’s program is only good for the first five years after graduation in one’s profession. Before reaching the fifth year, one has to update himself or herself to survive and become updated. I believe that that this is the vision of Chairman Senator Gatchalian because both pre-service education and in-service teacher training are important for our teachers,” said Sen. Villanueva.
Under the proposed legislation, the TEC will serve as a responsive coordinating institution for the three major government entities involved in teacher education: CHED, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and DepEd. This will ensure a fundamental link in teacher education continuum from pre-service education to in-service training as CHED and PRC serve as pre-service filters by regulating enrollment and graduation requirements in tertiary education courses and qualification before teachers enter the teaching profession mostly through the DepEd.
- Download the policy notes on Strengthening the Teacher Education Council
- Link to Senate Session No. 6 (August 4, 2021)
- Link to Senate Session No. 5 (August 3, 2021)