HIRING and retaining qualified and competent teachers for senior high school is a growing problem in this country. This is because senior high was implemented without the parallel structural adjustments that would make it fully succeed. Primarily, the Philippines has not prepared for the manpower demand of the senior high program.
Already in 2019, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (Pids) noted that there is a “shortage of qualified teachers to deliver the curriculum.” Some of the pre-college courses in senior high are arguably relevant, but there are not many among the existing teachers who are capable enough to handle them.
To date, Teacher Education schools are offering programs that prepare their graduates to teach subjects only up to Junior High School. An ordinary graduate of Bachelor of Science in Education major in Biology is practically not prepared to teach some if not most of the Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses in senior high school. We are not saying that all graduates of secondary education cannot teach senior high. We must admit that there are limits in the current education curriculum that was conceptualized long before the creation of the Enhanced Basic Education Act.
Worse is that there are many subjects in senior high school that cannot be taught by Secondary Education graduates. Philosophy, for example, cannot be taught by a Social Studies or a Values Education major. The enlightened and the well-educated know very well that Philosophy is not Social Studies or Values Education. Only the ignorant who assume to be wiser than the Pre-Socratics would insist otherwise.
There also are no secondary education graduates who are ordinarily prepared to teach most of the ABM specialized subjects like Entrepreneurship, Accounting (FABM 1 and 2), and Business Finance. If one would like to be sure and safe that Accounting is well taught in Senior High School, one should hire a BS Accounting graduate.
Our "educational experts" should see clearly by now that when the senior high program was opened in 2016, the needs of the education sector have changed. It is unfortunate that our technocrats did not see that in the long run there is not enough supply (of teachers) for the demand (of the Senior High School program).
One may argue that there are jobless Business Administration graduates anyway. Speaking from experience, however, not all Business Administration graduates are prepared or more so capable to teach. And even if Commerce or Business graduates know their subject matter, their limitations are in the other skill sets that are lacking but needed for a teacher to survive teaching. We cannot also expect the Accounting graduates to stay longer as senior high teachers because in the very first place they took up Accounting not in order to teach basic education students.
Even if one would say that there really are some or a few people who have the vocation to teach, but precisely, because it is a vocation we cannot, in all rationality assume, that everyone is called to it.
The same study of Pids accurately highlights the situation: there is a need “for continuous and effective capacity building of school heads and teachers” and above all there is a need to address the “mismatch of teacher qualifications and subjects taught.”
If your school has problems looking for senior high teachers, then console yourself with the fact that the root of the problem is not your school. There are larger systemic factors.
September 15, 2022
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