Issues in PH education: A teacher’s perspective | Inquirer Opinion

Issues in PH education: A teacher’s perspective

/ 05:02 AM September 15, 2023

The Philippine education system is riddled with challenges and issues, from the K-12 curriculum and teachers’ training, to the continuing battle for higher salaries for teachers, and the shortage of classrooms and learning materials for students. These issues have been reported in news media platforms and have been the subject of everyday conversation, proof that education is still top of mind in Philippine society.

These issues were also highlighted in the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EdCom II), which has begun consultations with stakeholders in the education sector, including teachers like me. The consultation, which was participated in by teachers from Metro Manila, revolved around our experiences, learning impediments, and challenges both in school governance, and with regards to the Department of Education. The consultation also welcomed discussions on success stories essential for the continued progress of programs for learners and teachers.

For all the discussions on educational reforms, curriculum revisions, and career progression, one question remained unanswered: Where does a public school teacher like me stand? What are the issues that are priorities for us teachers in government? Throughout a decade of teaching experience in public schools, I share the sentiments of my fellow teachers who identified crucial issues that may be a game changer if EdCom II successfully addresses them.

Topping the list is the salary increase for teachers. Not only would it boost morale, it would also help the rebranding of teaching as a profession, thus enticing competitive young minds to take up education as a career. Another issue highlighted is the weak preservice and in-service training of teachers, both of which are often not aligned with the demands and skills of the education sector. This includes mismatched teacher specialization and subjects taught in class, resulting in a lack of mastery among learners and failure to achieve target competencies in a given quarter.


The curriculum is congested, and several prerequisites of some learning competencies are missing and misplaced. The outcome is poor results in the academic performance of learners in international assessments, such as the Programme for International Student Assessment and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. The failure to hit the target skills of learners is magnified by another culprit: the ineffective pedagogical skill of our teachers.

The K-12 curriculum demands a learner-centered approach which is barely seen in seasoned and experienced teachers in public schools. This is a skill that may be premised on underlying problems such as unfulfilled principles of inclusion, diversity, and individual differences among students. As Heraldo Richards, Ayanna Brown, and Timothy Forde (2007) put it, there are three levels essential to establish inclusivity: institutional, personal, and instructional.

Institutional commitment refers to the organization dimensions such as space, building and infrastructure, facilities, and conducive classrooms which remain a huge problem as the number of enrollees increase every year. The personal dimension refers to a teacher’s ability to reflect on diversity issues, challenging their own attitudes, beliefs, perception, and willingness to know their students as learners and individuals, a difficult task considering the teacher-learner ratio both in elementary and secondary public schools.

The third level, the instructional dimension refers to the pedagogy, instructional materials, and strategies to be used that align with the needs of diverse students. Neglecting these elements and diversity-related issues may lead to inequality and subsequently hinder the teaching and learning process within our classrooms.


EdCom II plays a crucial role in augmenting some pressing issues in the realm of teacher education and training. In a healthy ecosystem, we need birds and frogs. Birds that soar above see the overall picture, while frogs on the ground see the granular details on the frontline. We need both EdCom II and the voice of the teachers, which represent the knowledge and view of birds and frogs, respectively, to be able to craft sustainable solutions to ever-recurring issues and challenges in our basic education system.



David Yu is a Grade 12 teacher who participated in EdCom II’s consultations on teacher education and training. His personal views in this article do not represent those of any organization or institution.

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