Teachers Supply and Demand in the Philippines. Clementina Acedo, hdned

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Teachers Supply and Demand in the Philippines.

Clementina Acedo, HDNED

The World Bank

I. Key Issues
1.1) Teacher education and competence: Pre-service

Proliferation of low quality teacher education institutions

Low quality intakes into teacher education

Most graduates from TEIs do not pass the licensing test

Teacher education graduates are weak in subject matter content

Lower quality of teacher graduates in elementary education teaching programs
1.2) Relationship between teachers supply from training programs and school needs

Shortage of teachers trained in mathematics and science, particularly in physics and chemistry

Teachers teaching subjects for which they are not prepared

A deficient in-service program
1.3) Teacher allocation and teacher management

Teacher distribution problems: Potential shortfalls in remote poor areas, and teacher surplus in some populated schools

Institutional obstacles to teacher management: The staffing rule and the Magna Carta

II. Accomplishments with regard the EDCOM recommendations

2.1) Background: The 1991 Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM)
2.2) Implementation of EDCOM recommendations regarding teaching improvement

Strengthening regulations governing the practice of teaching

Adopting higher standards for admission to pre-service teacher education programs

Establishing Centers of Excellence in teacher education

Scholarships for students of mathematics and science BSE

Two leading INSET experiences

Upgrading of teachers’ salaries

III. Policy recommendations

IV. Bibliography

Teachers Supply and Demand in the Philippines.

Teacher salaries in the Philippines have been substantially increased1 with the hope that this measure would make the profession more attractive and would contribute to improving the quality of teachers. However, it has been shown in the literature that a policy of higher salaries by itself without improving teacher education and establishing higher standards does not have an effect on improving teaching effectiveness (Sedlak and Schlossman 1986; Darling-Hammond 1998). Apparently, better students have been enrolling in the Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSE) in the last years, but besides from that there has not been significant improvement in the quality of teachers in the Philippines after raising teacher salaries. One reason argued for the low quality of teachers, are the years of neglect of and lack of attention at what happens at the school level.2 But there are also serious reasons for the low performance of teachers, both on the supply side of teacher education and on the demand side of schools’ teaching needs.

I. Key Issues
1.1) Teacher education and competence: Pre-Service
Proliferation of low quality teacher education institutions
Pre-service training in the Philippines is provided by Teacher Education Institutions coordinated by the Commission for Higher Education (CHED). Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) have proliferated in recent years. Between 1996 and 1998, the number of TEIs nationwide rose from 750 to 815. About 70 percent of these are private. This situation has resulted in the opening of low-quality programs that do not meet minimum standards of accreditation. Of the 815 TEIs, only 27 percent comply with the minimum standards established by CHED for Teacher Education. Less that 20 percent of these institutions are availed by the national accreditation system.3 The general lack of rationalization and low standards of the higher education system typically affect the teacher education institutions, both in the public and the private sector.4
The enrollment of students in public and private TEIs is equivalent. In 1996-1997, 49.9 percent of the students were enrolled in public institutions and 50.1 percent were enrolled in private institutions. Female students comprise the majority both in public (76 percent) and in private (80 percent) teacher institutions (CHED 1997)5. There are 301,148 students enrolled in education, one of the three professional disciplines with the highest enrollments, as high as engineering and just after business administration. The Teacher Education Institutions have so far produced more graduates than required by the system. But the main problem is that the quality of the teachers produced by these institutions is very low. The single most important factor underlying the quality of basic education is the quality of teachers and this depends on the quality of teacher education. Teacher education thus, is an area of urgent attention in the Philippines.
Low quality of intakes into teacher education
The problem starts with the quality of intakes into teacher education. Only 25 percent of the high school seniors who passed the National Secondary Achievement Test (NSAT) opted for teacher education as a career path (CHED 1997), meaning that better students chose other career paths (CHED 1997). From those that start teacher education programs, 71 percent complete the degrees. The other 29 percent drop out of the program, mostly due to economic problems or lack of initial preference for teacher education.
The main route by which a student in the Philippines can obtain a pre-service qualification as an elementary teacher is through the Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEE) degree and as a high school teacher through the Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSE) degree. The BSE degree is usually taken with a major in a single high school subject. The alternative way to obtain qualification as a teacher is to complete a regular Arts or Science degree (BA or BS) and then to enroll at a College of Education for an 18 unit program of professional education.6 Either route entitles the graduate to sit the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).
The faculty staff qualifications is notably low both in terms of academic preparation (only 7 percent have Ph.D.) and in terms of teaching experience (less than half have taught before).7
Most of those graduating from TEIs do not pass the licensing test
Only 28 percent of Graduates of TEIs taking the Licensure Examination of Teachers (LET) in 1996 passed. The proportion of passing graduates taken the Philippines Board Examination for Teachers (PBET) from 1992-1995 was 24 percent. In 1996, the PBET was replaced by the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) as an attempt to raise the status of the teaching profession by incorporating equivalent requirements and certifications as other professions, i.e. Board Exam for Lawyers (Ibe 1998). The combined PBET/LET from 1992-1996 was 27 percent. The difference shown in 1996 does not necessarily mean an improvement but merely the change of test from PBET to LET (Survey of Performance of Schools in the PBET/LET, 1992-1996) (Teacher Education Council 1998).
A comparison of the licensure test pass rates of different professions is interesting. The pass rate for teachers exceeds only those for accountants (16 percent) and dentists (25 percent). The highest pass rates were achieved by medical doctors (78 percent), pharmacists (65 percent) and metallurgical engineers (56 percent).8
Teacher education graduates are weak in subject matter content
The curriculum of both BEE and BSE degree programs has a heavy component on general education (50 percent). This seems to be a compensatory measure for the short years of basic education in the Philippines education system. From the other fifty percent, about a third of the curriculum is devoted to professional courses and just about 20 percent to specialization courses. The result thus, is that teacher education graduates are in general quite weak on subject matter content (TEC, 1998).
Faculty members in the TEIs tend to have master’s degree, 90 percent of all master’s degree are in education, but most of these teachers teach specialized courses for which their MAs do not qualify them.9
Computers are utilized only in the TEIs located in wealthy urban centers (8 out of 10 institutions do not have computers or overhead projectors). Libraries are poorly maintained and with outdated materials. Students rely mostly on handouts or lecture notes. The majority of science laboratories are minimally equipped, even in the private TEIs where student fees are quite low.
Lower quality of teacher graduates in elementary education teaching programs
Two-thirds of the students enrolled in teacher education programs are in the Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEE) while the remaining one third go to the Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSE) degree program. At the beginning of the 1990s this pattern of preference tended to shift but by the end of the 1990s the trend reversed again with higher enrollment in BEE degrees (3:1). An evaluation done in 1996 of the Professional Board Exam for Teachers (PBET), which used to be administered by the Civil Service Commission, showed consistently better performance of secondary school teachers as compared with elementary school teachers. This is attributed to the fact that in the high school teachers curriculum, students take several more subjects in the field of specialization (Ibe, 1998). Also, students consider BEE an easier and cheaper option than the BSE, so students with lower preparation and motivation tend to be attracted to the BEE degree. Besides, the reward is the same, since salaries are equal for primary and secondary teachers. The low quality of elementary school teachers is particularly worrisome if a priority concern for elementary education is to improve student achievement. Teacher effectiveness is recognized as a key element to improve student learning.
1.2) Relationship between teachers supply from training programs and school needs
Shortage of teachers trained in mathematics and science, particularly in physics and chemistry
Of those prospective teachers enrolled in BSE degrees, only 1.5 percent chose the majors of mathematics and science. There are four BSE science programs (general science, biology, chemistry and physics) and a single mathematics program. The majority of universities focus on non-science BSE subjects and mathematics. The only science major which is commonly offered in BSE programs is general science, which prepares the teacher for the first year high school science curriculum. Programs which prepare teachers for specialized science (biology, physics and chemistry, taught in second, third and four school years) are only taught in a few institutions, in general in the Centers of Excellence. (Somerset et al. 1998). This results in a general shortage of teachers in priority areas such as mathematics and sciences, and within sciences, especially in the specialization majors of physics and chemistry.
Teachers teaching subjects for which they are not prepared
A 1992 survey conducted by DECS showed that 45 percent of teachers teaching mathematics were non-specialists. The proportions were even worse for science teachers: 60 percent of general science teachers, 59 percent of biology teachers, 79 percent of biology teachers and 82 percent of physics teachers were non-major in the subjects they were teaching (DECS 1998).10
Besides this general shortage of teachers in these key areas, there is a lack of fit between the formal qualifications of mathematics and science high school teachers and the demands of the high school curriculum. In the sample of BSE programs studied by Somerset, Alfafara et alias in Central Visayas, mathematics and biology teachers were in adequate supply, but there were shortages of chemistry and physics teachers and a substantial oversupply of general science teachers. General science teachers were teaching physics or chemistry, areas for which they were not specifically trained, and many mathematics teachers, who could easily teach physics were unwilling to do so. These patterns are a legacy of the low enrollments in mathematics and science in pre-service training programs. Very recently a targeted scholarships program in the teacher education colleges is beginning to correct the problem. (Somerset et al. 1998, p. 21).

A deficient in-service program
The in-service teacher training program, referred to as is INSET, is coordinated by DECS (Staff Development Departments of the Bureaus of Elementary Education and Secondary Education). The INSET program is based on a top-down, “cascade” model that rarely addresses the real needs of classroom teachers and uses outdated materials.11 Also, most INSET courses are one-time courses taught away from the school context. There are important exceptions, such as the PROBE program and UNICEF’s in-service training program for teachers in multi-grade schools. However, with a pre-service system where prospective teachers are ill prepared in terms of subject matter and only have 13 units of their course work load as teaching practice, the in-service preparation and support system for young teachers is extremely important.
This weak exposure that student teachers have to actual classroom situation translates into poor classroom teaching methods: “many classrooms appear to be operating in a very authoritarian, undemocratic, teacher-centered, hierarchical fashion” (Brigham 1998). Other identified ineffective teacher practices include: teacher dependence on guides and manuals; heavy emphasis on recall and repetition rather than understanding; learning environments that elicit passive pupil behavior; under-development of pupil problem-solving skills; lack of attention to individual learning needs; and under-use of group methods to foster cooperative learning.12
Teachers have identified priority training needs which their pre-service education has failed to meet, including the need for greater subject content; specific pedagogic training, applicable to the subject they teach; knowledge and methods of student assessment; and classroom management techniques. Also, teachers who teach multi-grade classes feel overwhelmed by the lack of specific pedagogic preparation needed to perform effectively in a multi-grade environment.13
There is a consensus that in-service training (INSET) programs have not been adapted to teachers’ needs. Responding to this concern, DECS has transferred the implementation of INSET to the divisional level and is willing to push it down further to the school level. New expressed objectives of INSET are the following: improvement in subject area teaching; upgrading teaching competencies in pre-school education, multi-grade teaching and assessment at the classroom level, and capacity-building for head teachers and principals in order to properly assess teachers’ performance (DECS 1998d). Some of these needs will be addressed in the INSET training under TEEP. Instructional supervision should be enforced at the school level with the joint work of master and experienced teachers, the principal and trained teachers. Methods for instructional supervision include classroom observations, coaching, team teaching and observation of experienced and co-trained teachers.
1.3) Teacher allocation and teacher management
Teacher distribution
Although there is no absolute shortage of teachers, there are distributional problems that create shortfalls in specific locations, particularly in remote poor areas, and teachers not teaching in some populated schools
The student-teacher ratio is 1:34 but the average class size is much larger, 41 in elementary education and 50 in secondary education. This does not seem to be a serious problem either for student achievement or for cost–efficiency considerations, but there are distributional disparities that lead to inequities in the system. For instance, region-wide average class sizes in elementary education range from 50 in NCR to 33 and 34 in region 1 and CAR respectively. Schools in urban areas tend to have more resources, more students, and therefore attract more teachers. Schools in sparsely populated, as well as remote rural communities are less well-endowed and tend to be smaller and incomplete, have fewer teachers and, in most instances, are headed by non-principals. There are many more teachers on the pay roll than there are teachers teaching. In urban widely populated schools, often many teachers are fulfilling non-teaching functions, like clerical or administrative ones.
Institutional obstacles to teacher management: the staffing rule and the Magna Carta
DECS is the biggest single employer of teachers, employing 326,970 teachers for elementary education, 20,572 supervisory staff (principals, head teachers, counselors) and 13,034 administrative and support staff 14. More than 80 percent of the education budget of DECS is devoted to teachers’ salaries. This leaves very little room for improvement in other areas of education, but teachers are the key factor in education delivery and the student-teachers ratio is relatively high and not particularly inefficient in comparison to other countries. There are, however, inefficiencies in the deployment of teachers than can be corrected by eliminating some of the obstacles of staffing and placement policies and, at the same time, by creating an incentive structure that would attract good teachers where they are most needed.
The basis of staff administration policies in public school needs to be revised. Due to the fact that the school system has been growing continuously in size, due to population growth and expansion of the education system, staff administration policy has focussed largely on allocating the additional staff needed each year. The allocation of new teachers has not necessarily responded to actual need but mostly to bureaucratic requirements. The staffing norm is based on student enrollments, that is, the number of students is the basis for establishing another class section and appointing another teacher. The relationship is one to 40 (more than 40 students entitles a school to another section and therefore another teacher). When enrollments decline, however, schools resist losing teachers. The reasons being that the staffing rule generates wrong incentives. For instance, a principal’s rank depends on the number of teachers in the school. So principals in schools with high enrollments in urban areas exert pressure on superintendents to allocate more teachers to their schools. It is common then to assign teachers to non-teaching jobs rather than reducing actual classes. Many teachers are used as clerks, supply officers and maintenance persons.
Another obstacle to teacher management is the “Magna Carta for Teachers,” enacted in 1966 and put into practice in 1967 under a very centralized management system. The Magna Carta rules that no teacher can be transferred from “one station to another” without his or her express consent. Even when the “exigencies of the service” would allow a divisional superintendent, district supervisor or school principal to decide the transfer of a teacher, the affected teachers can appeal the decision. The process becomes so difficult and time-consuming that most DECS officials are discouraged from even initiating such actions. The purpose of the Magna Carta was to protect public school teachers from capricious action by schools heads and DECS officials but the unintended consequence is that it restricts the ability of local education authorities to deploy teachers in order to meet local needs or respond to demographic changes. Teachers want to remain where they are assigned, except when they are assigned to the most difficult posts. Young teachers, on the other hand, are assigned to the most difficult posts without adequate support and incentive. As soon as they can, they relocate to less difficult posts.
A revision of the Magna Carta for Teachers and an assessment of existing staffing rules would be needed to give greater flexibility and make more efficient use of teachers. The current policy of allocating teachers, according to enrollments and assigning school head rank according to teacher numbers have created a number of unintended behaviors, e.g. padding enrollment data, under-reporting dropouts, condoning classes that are too small and using teachers for non teaching jobs.
Due partly to poor teacher deployment of this centrally managed system and to the weakness of the local authorities to influence teacher placement and assignment, divisions and municipalities tend to manage shortages by locally hiring supplementary teachers, according to local preferences and school needs. These teachers hired by the school boards while are paid less (because the salary comes from local sources) tend to have similar qualifications than teachers recruited by DECS. Whereas this practice may currently disadvantage locally hired teachers, the move towards greater autonomy on the part of local schools and school boards and increased power to hire, fire and pay teachers according to local preferences and local market conditions sets a precedent that could be extended over time to cover all teachers. This would allow and promote real school-based management and tend to improve efficiency in the basic education system.

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