May 24, 2012
TAP PROFESSIONALS AS TEACHERS OF SCIENCE, MATH - ANGARA
In a recent public hearing, Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that accredited S&T professionals like government scientists and engineers can be tapped as 'adjunct' science and math teachers to supplement teacher training initiatives nationwide.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, cited figures from the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB), showing a decline in the number of graduates from courses in Education Science, Teacher Training, Engineering and Technology over the last decade.
"Our attempts to reform and improve the educational system will be for nothing if we fail to equip our teachers with the necessary skills, and if less of our students see teaching as a viable career," said Angara, who is also Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.
"We should be biased for boosting our S&T capability because this will enable us to catch up and become more competitive."
Angara noted that the Department of Education (DepEd) is currently training 140,000 teachers--around 73,500 in Grade 1 and 70, 200 in Grade 7--to teach the new K to 12 basic education curriculum. Additionally, about 100,000 more teachers are needed to meet future demand.
The veteran lawmaker also noted that DepEd, in partnership with the Philippine Science High School System (PSHSS) and the Department of Science and Technology Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), has recently conducted trainings for around 1,500 Grade 7 teachers of English, Science and Mathematics from science high schools nationwide.
"Government is doing what it can to fill the gaps in teachers, especially in math and science," said Angara, a former UP President. He cited that Education Secretary Armin Luistro recently issued Memorandum No. 55, series of 2012 which prioritizes the hiring of graduates who are science scholars for math and science teaching positions nationwide.
Only 143 graduate scholars from the DOST-SEI, however, are available for hiring under the memorandum for SY 2012-2013, provided that they first passed the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).
"Clearly, there is a need to find other ways of scaling up teacher training and faculty development . We should tap into talent that already exists. Government chemists, biologists, agriculturists, economists and engineers can be given certain incentives and granted some leeway on licensure requirements to become the math and science teachers we need, at least in the interim," added Angara.
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