MANILA, Philippines – The Senate approved on 3rd and final reading a bill seeking to declare a National Teachers’ Day in the country.
Senate Bill 510 seeks to declare October 5 as National Teachers’ Day in the Philippines, to coincide with the World Teachers’ Day declared by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) on the same day every year.
In a statement released on Monday, May 18, senators agreed that the bill will “rectify the long-standing absence of an official celebration of the nation’s teachers.”
Senator Cynthia Villar, principal author of the proposed measure, said that neighboring countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam have their own official celebration of teachers’ day.
“The Philippines, which has more than half a million-strong teaching force in public elementary and secondary education alone, has no official celebration of Teachers’ Day aside from the token commemoration of October 5 as World Teachers’ Day,” VIllar said.
Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the committee on education, arts and culture and sponsor of the bill, said this proposal “would recognize the Filipino teachers’ pivotal role in nation building and their commitment to mold the youth into capable and upstanding citizens.”
Apart from serving as mentors to students, teachers – particularly those in public schools – are mandated to serve as election inspectors. Various groups are calling already for the approval of a House bill that seeks to make election duties non-compulsory for them.
Based on the latest figures provided by the Department of Education, there are 38,660 elementary school teachers and 7,754 high school teachers in public schools as of school year 2012-2013.
Other teacher-related bills pending in Senate are those that seek to increase basic pay for public school teachers. Most public school teachers get a minimum pay of P18,549 ($416.92)
In a graduation speech, Education Secretary Armin Luistro even claimed that he entrusts the fate of the K to 12 program in the country’s teachers, whom he called the “face” of the reform in the education system.
“The teaching profession is not only about teaching skills and sharing information and knowledge. It is, in its true sense, teaching the love for learning and continuing education,” Villar said. – Rappler.com