US teachers earn 7-8 times more than Pinoy counterparts

The low salary of teachers in the Philippines forces many of them to seek greener pastures

MANILA, Philippines – The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) data shows that public school teachers in the United States earn 7 to 8 times more than teachers in the Philippines.  

In its latest Sexy Statistics released on Friday, April 26, NSCB Secretary-General Jose Ramon Albert said that in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), Filipino teachers earn US$5,000 to $6,000 annually, while teachers in the US earn $35,000 to $45,000. 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said PPPs are a more appropriate currency converter to compare living standards and the structure of economies than market exchange rates. It was popularized by the Economist’s Big Mac Index which priced hamburgers in global cities for a quick comparison of living standards.

In actual peso terms, teachers in the Philippines receive a rough estimate of P17,255 to P18,500 per month. 

“As a consequence, based on data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the United States figured as the top destination of teachers deployed abroad between 2005 and 2010,” Albert said. 

Data showed that starting salaries of teachers in the Philippines are at $5,095 in 2008 and $5,142 in 2009. For those who had rendered 15 years of service, their salary increased to $5,624 in 2008 and $5,676 in 2009. 

In the US, teacher’s starting salaries were at $35,907 in 2008 and $36,502 in 2009. For those who had rendered 15 years of service, the teachers received $44,015 and $44,614 in 2008 and 2009, respectively. 

Because of the large disparity in the salary, many Filipino teachers have gone to the US to teach. The NSCB said there have been a total of 2,768 teachers deployed to the US between 2005 and 2010.

Other top destinations for Filipino teachers between 2005 and 2010 are:

  • Saudi Arabia – 843
  • Bahrain – 395
  • United Arab Emirates – 371
  • China – 328

Teaching Filipinos

Albert said that the government cannot also forget the teachers who chose to stay in the country and teach Filipino students. The government needs to find ways to help them improve their teaching skills and keep them here.

In 2013, the government gave the Department of Education (DepEd) the authority to hire more or less 61,510 teachers. But more could be needed as the government shifts to the K to 12 system. 

Albert said, however, that he is beginning to wonder if there are enough teachers to hire since the passing rate in the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) has been lower than 30% between school years 2004 and 2011. 

The LET passing rates in the past 7 school years are as follows:

  • 2004-2005 – 27%
  • 2005-2006 – 31%
  • 2006-2007 – 28.5%
  • 2007-2008 – 31.4%
  • 2008-2009 – 25.5%
  • 2009-2010 – 21.2%
  • 2010-2011 – 22.3%

“Unless the need to provide our teachers  with the needed skills and benefits and to sell out teaching as a viable and noble profession, the government’s efforts on education reforms, e.g., K to 12 program, ladderized education and priority courses in higher education would still face challenges,” Albert said. 

“It is thus important that not only the 3 pillars of education – DepEd, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and CHED should work on this, but equally important, is for all stakeholders, the private sector and all of us to do our part in ensuring that we are also taking care of our own teachers,” he added. –

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