Briones says college instructors can teach Filipino in elementary, high schools

Sofia Tomacruz

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Briones says college instructors can teach Filipino in elementary, high schools
Education Secretary Leonor Briones assures there will be no reduction in salaries, as provided by rules from the Civil Service Commission

MANILA, Philippines – Amid reports that thousands of college teachers could go jobless after the Supreme Court ruled that Filipino and Panitikan are no longer core subjects in college, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said these affected faculty can consider applying with grade schools and high schools.

In a press conference Monday, November 12, Briones said college teachers who choose to apply with Department of Education (DepEd) schools can be assured that there would be no reduction in their salaries, as provided by rules from the Civil Service Commission.

“I’m very sure they have the professional qualifications, and we are also looking for teachers…. It depends on the need, because we have some schools that need Math, Science, English, but also some schools that need Filipino and Panitikan [teachers],” Briones said.

DepEd said some faculty members from higher education institutions (HEIs) had moved to grade schools and high schools during the initial implementation of the K to 12 curriculum.

The Court lifted the temporary restraining order on the 2015 Commission on Higher Education (CHED) memorandum that said “changes in the GE curriculum were implemented to ensure that there would be no duplication of subjects in Grade 1 to 10, senior high school and college.” 

No need to pass LET: There have been concerns among teachers from colleges and universities that they would need to pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) before they could teach in grade school and high school. This would entail more time and expenses on their part.

DepEd Legal Affairs Undersecretary Josephine Maribojoc said faculty from HEIs do not need this to teach basic education.

She cited the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which says: “Faculty of HEIs be allowed to teach in their general education or subject specialties in the secondary education: provided, that the faculty must be a holder of a relevant bachelor’s degree, and must have satisfactorily served as a full-time HEI faculty.”

Strengthening basic education: The suggestion plays a part in the DepEd’s priority to improve the teaching of Filipino and Panitikan in basic education.

Briones said the department will review how to best strengthen the subjects after criticisms from teachers in universities pointed out many students did not always enter college fully equipped for higher Filipino and Panitikan subjects. They said training from elementary and high school was not always sufficient.

“This is a challenge for us to improve our curriculum, given as we continuously look at what is happening in mathematics, science, robotics…. We also have to monitor language…as it also is constantly changing,” Briones said.

In basic education, the DepEd has Filipino and Panitikan subjects in various grade levels, from Grade 1 to senior high school (SHS).

DepEd Curriculum Development Undersecretary Lorna Dig Dino said the two subjects go hand-in-hand when being taught in the various grade levels.

She added Filipino and Panitikan were part of 4 out of 14 core subjects in SHS:

  • “Contemporary arts from the regions” 
  • “21st century literature in Filipino syllabus”
  • “Pagbasa at pagsususlit ng iba’t-ibang teksto sa pananaliksik” 
  • “Komunikasyon at pananaliksik sa wika at kulturang Pilipino”

Briones said it would be “awkward” for the DepEd to comment on the SC’s decision, considering the CHED was an autonomous institution.

As for DepEd, she said improving Filipino and Panitikan was among its priorities anyway “to give our learners a sense of identity and knowing (what is) Filipino.” –

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.