PBEd convenes gov’t, academe for LET discussion

Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), a non-government organization committed towards education reform, recently convened several key government officials and college deans in a roundtable discussion (RTD) seeking to address the dismal performance of schools in the Licensure Examination for Teachers(LET). It was held last May 13, 2014 at the JV Room, Asian Institute of Management Conference Center.The RTD was organized to discuss the findings of a recently concluded study by PBEd that looked at the performance of Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) between 2009 and 2013. The action points proposed in the study called for:

 

  • The closing down of teacher education programs that have consistently performed poorly for five years by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED);
  • ‘Industry’ accreditation— the Department of Education (DepEd) and private schools associations must release a “white list” of accredited TEIs from which teacher will be hired;
  • The release exam of questions by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) so that they may be: (i) reviewed and (ii) aligned to the new K-12 teacher education curriculum;
  • The requiring of a refresher course for repeaters who failed the exam three times by the PRC;
  • The exploration of other teacher screening instruments and/or standards such as a national entrance examination for teachers or admitting from the top proportion (Top x%) of high school graduates by the Board of Professional Teachers and the Teacher Education Council;
  • The publication of the list of poor performing TEIs by the PRC for consumer protection;
  • Differentiated LET application forms of PRC to get information of undergraduate degrees and certificate in teaching program holders for better performance monitoring; and
  • A signal to TEIs of the needed majors or specializations of teachers by the DepEd and private schools associations in order to better balance the supply and demand for teachers.

Additionally, several moderate to radical action points were raised and suggested in the RTD. These include:

1. Continuing research

Research such as the one undertaken by PBEd must be continued. Research centers can initiate a study on the success and failure factors that determine the performance of TEIs in the LET. Furthermore, a comparative analysis of the passing rates of those who took the four-year course and the teacher certification program may also be explored. This research can push through with a revised application form that differentiates undergraduates from holders of teaching certificates.

2. Transparency mechanisms

a. Participatory Review

While waiting for the new outcomes-based curriculum of CHED, which will be the basis of the new LET questions, an item analysis of the past LET questions must be undertaken for the remaining LET exams before the teacher education curriculum changes. Moreover, the academe and other concerned institutions are willing to participate in crafting and/or reviewing the outcomes-based questions in the new LET.

b. Poor Performance Publication

The performance of schools, especially the poor performers, in the LET must be published and be made available to the public. These results must show the historical performance of TEIs through the years rather than on a per instance basis.

3. Review and amendment of concerned laws

To make the necessary reforms to improve teacher quality, a review and amendment of pertinent laws on teacher licensing and hiring is needed. Particularly,a provision to require a refresher course to teacher education graduates who have failed the LET thrice was called for.

4. Teacher Quality Summit

A summit that aims to discuss other possible alternatives in ensuring teacher quality aside from licensing, concerns on the LET, and the best practices of the Top Ten TEIs, may be held in the near future. Outputs of the summit can be the basis of the reform initiatives that stakeholders can collectively submit to the Congress and other concerned government agencies.

5. Making teacher education a graduate program

It was suggested to make teacher education an exclusive graduate program like in other countries instead of the current undergraduate scheme because second-coursers or those who took the certification program seem to perform better at the LET.

6. Eliminating the licensure examination

One suggestion was to eliminate the LET altogether and to focus on strengthening and accrediting the TEIs based on their performance. This model follows those of other countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and United States of America, among others.

Among the key personalities who attended the event were Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Chairperson Atty. TeresitaManzala, former Department of Education Secretary (DepEd) Dr. Edilberto de Jesus, former DepEd Undersecretary Mr. Mike Luz, Philippine Normal University (PNU) System President Dr. Ester Ogena, and Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines  (CEAP) President, Br. Jun Erguiza. They were joined by representatives from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), DepEd, Office of Cong. Roman Romulo, among others.

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