MANILA, Philippines – Education experts cited overworked teachers as among the reasons behind the Philippines’ high level of learning poverty.
During the latest episode of In the Public Square aired on Wednesday, August 10, Philippine Business for Education executive director Love Basillote and Dr. Ed Fermin of the National Teachers College shared their insights on why the Philippines is languishing at the bottom of the 2022 State of Global Learning Poverty report, with a rate of over 90%.
Fermin said one manifestation of learning poverty is the presence of 10-year-old students who have difficulty reading and understanding even the simplest text.
“The way the World Bank calculates learning poverty is based on these factors – schooling deprivation and learning deprivation. In the case of the Philippines, we have high incidence of both,” he said.
Fermin pointed out that learning poverty in the country is exacerbated by overworked teachers who have to perform tasks other than teaching.
“If Vice President Sara Duterte will be true to what she said that she would lessen or remove the administrative functions of teachers so they could focus and concentrate on assessing and delivery of learning, I think that would be a good way to jumpstart the system and make sure that teachers really spend more time looking at how are our learners coping,” he said.
“Our teachers are overworked,” Fermin added.
For years, teachers have complained of piling paperwork that hinders their lesson preparation.
‘Teacher quality’ another problem
Basillote shared Fermin’s view but added that the Philippines is beset by another problem – the quality of teachers delivering lessons to millions of Filipino students.
“I empathize with our teachers because they have so much work. But most of them are really not qualified to teach the subjects that they are supposed to teach,” she said.
Basillote also said that how Filipinos see teaching as a profession is also problematic.
“Many people want to go to teaching because you can’t be fired when you become a teacher regardless of your performance,” she said.
Basillote said It’s important for the government to invest in the professional development of teachers to make sure that teachers are “competent with the subject they are teaching.”
How should the government address the learning crisis in the Philippines? Sound off in the comments! – Rappler.com