EdCom II and the future of teacher quality
Education plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of any nation. The quality of education depends significantly on the caliber of its educators. After all, as it has been widely said, the quality of education cannot exceed the quality of teachers. This has been emphasized in a recent World Bank report pointing to poor teacher quality as a major factor in our country’s dismal performance in international education assessments. The Second Congressional Commission on Education (EdCom II) was convened this year, emerging as a crucial institution mandated to conduct a comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the Philippine education sector by virtue of Republic Act No. 11899.
One of EdCom II’s core areas is teacher education and development. A priority action in this area includes aligning the work of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and Department of Education (DepEd) on improving the quality of our teachers from preservice education to in-service training. Preservice teacher education refers to the training and preparation that aspiring teachers undergo before they enter the classroom as full-fledged educators. It encompasses the pedagogical and subject-matter knowledge, skills, and values that teachers must acquire to effectively nurture the next generation of learners. Many criticisms directed at DepEd often point to perceived deficiencies in teachers’ skills. What is commonly overlooked is how this misalignment between the teachers’ competencies and the needs of the basic education sector has existed even as early as the teachers’ preservice academic training, or while they are studying in college. For instance, many teacher education institutions vary in terms of quality. While some institutions provide excellent teacher training, others may not meet the required standards as defined in the beginning career stage of the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST). This inconsistency affects the preparedness of future teachers. The curriculum of some teacher education programs may not also be aligned with the evolving needs of K-12 education.
Our work in EdCom II also focuses on ensuring our teacher education institutions (TEIs) meet performance standards. Data show that many higher education institutions—including 25 state universities and colleges (17 within CHEd scope)—have consistently failed in the licensure examination for teachers. Making sure that these TEIs perform well—through the CHEd’s own quality standards—will also contribute to a better, more effective teacher pool.
Aligning the preservice teacher education curriculum, with the goals and competencies expected of teachers during their service, ensures that the skills and knowledge taught to preservice teachers are in sync with the demands of the classroom. Among those that paved the way for this alignment to happen is the Philippine National Research Center for Teacher Quality (RCTQ)—a research institution established by the Philippine Normal University and the University of New England in Australia. RCTQ has been training many teacher education institutions in the country since 2017 to undertake curriculum quality audit, an effective audit process that aligns preservice teacher curriculum with the institution’s educational goals and objectives, and the PPST indicators for beginning teachers.
This preservice to in-service teacher education alignment ensures that the knowledge and skills acquired during initial teacher training are continually honed throughout a teacher’s career. It allows teachers to adapt to new teaching methodologies, technologies, and educational trends. It is hoped that EdCom II can provide an avenue for this curriculum audit and alignment to be scaled up across all teacher education institutions nationwide. Such an alignment is not merely a choice but a necessity for the advancement of education in the country.
When CHEd, PRC, and DepEd work collaboratively together to operationalize this alignment, we can establish consistent and high-quality standards for teacher education, licensing, and professional development. This ensures that teachers are prepared to meet the needs of the education system, the students they serve, and the nation as a whole. Then, and only then, can we work together to create a more fruitful education ecosystem for our teachers and educators.
To all of our teachers, you deserve nothing less than an aligned, responsive, and high-quality teacher education system—Happy Teachers’ Day!
Professor Jennie V. Jocson is vice president for academics at the Philippine Normal University and concurrent director of the Philippine Research Center for Teacher Quality. She is a member of the standing committee for higher education, and teacher education, and development of EdCom II.