Two militant lawmakers on Friday sought a congressional inquiry into Department of Education’s policies on the promotion of teaching personnel.
In filing House Resolution 2061, Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro of ACT Teachers Party-list, asked the appropriate committees at the Lower House to conduct a probe in aid of legislation into the existing policies and procedures on promotion of public school teachers.
“Teachers’ career advancement is hindered by the sluggish processing of promotion in DepEd, the imposition of numerous requirements, and certain limitations such as the scarcity of plantilla items for higher positions and the setting of ratios between teaching items.”
“These problems in the system of promotion have kept teachers at the entry level or Teacher I position for almost 15 or more years, with many of them retiring as Teacher I,” Tinio said.
Citing DepEd records as of 2017, he said that out of the total 687,229 teaching population, 360,205 or 52 percent are entry-level teachers while there are only 50,471 items, or 7.3 percent of the total that are occupied by Master Teachers (MT I to MT III).
The two lawmakers said in the resolution that the problem on the promotion of teaching personnel persist yearly, with the allotment of few items for higher positions.
Under the 2018 budget, for instance, the allocation for the promotion of Master Teachers will only accommodate up to 344 Master Teachers, Tinio said.
“The 1987 Constitution mandates the government to ‘enhance the right of teachers to professional advancement’. However, there is nearly no assurance for promotion or career progression in DepEd,” said Tinio.
Castro, for her part, noted that another factor hindering promotion is that teachers are assigned to handle subjects outside their specialization.
“Moreover, DepEd rules on reclassification and upgrading of positions limit the number of master teachers and head teachers who can be promoted by setting ratios between teaching items,” Castro said.
HR 2061 cited that DepEd guidelines on promotion limit the number of Master Teachers I and II in elementary schools to a ceiling of 10 percent, or 6.6 percent for MT I and 3.3 percent for MT I, of the total number of Teachers I, II and III in the district per then Department of Education and Sports Order 51, series of 1999.
“In addition, the government and DepEd offer limited opportunities for self-improvement of teachers such as free scholarship, research grants, free graduate studies and other improvement plans which will aid the teacher in merit promotion,” Castro said.
In seeking a congressional probe, Tino and Castro, both members of the Makabayan Bloc in the House, said their group hopes to reform the system of promotion -- being one of the long-standing demands of public school teachers in keeping with the spirit of Section 1 of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers or Republic Act 4670.
The provision of the law provides the state policy “to promote and improve the social and economic status of public school teachers, their living and working conditions, their terms of employment and career prospects in order that they may compare favorably with existing opportunities in other walks of life, attract and retain in the teaching profession more people with the proper qualifications, it being recognized that advance in education depends on the qualifications and ability of the teaching staff and that education is an essential factor in the economic growth of the nation as a productive investment of vital importance.”