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How to improve public education? Establish national teacher academies all over PH, say Arroyos

The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- Stressing the need to enhance the quality of public education to produce outstanding students, two lawmakers proposed the establishment of national teacher academies all over the country.

House Bill No. 3042, authored by former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Camarines Sur Representative Diosdado Arroyo sought to create a national teacher academy on subject areas commonly taught in elementary and secondary schools.

These subjects include basic skills and literacy instruction, civics and government, national writing project, mathematics, foreign languages, history, geography and sociology, economics, life sciences, physical sciences, and the arts, including art, music, and the performing arts.

The authors noted that the quality of the teaching profession has suffered a decline due to several reasons often resulting in a demoralized teaching pool.

“The government must not only toil to address the existing and impending teacher shortage in the country, but bring talented professionals into the teaching profession to greatly enhance the quality of our education,” they said.

The measure, to be known as Teaching Profession Act of 2013, authorizes the Secretary of Department of Education (DepEd) to make grants to eligible recipients to establish and operate national teacher academies.

The measure provides that academy staff shall be selected from the most accomplished and prominent scholars in the relevant fields of study and in the methodologies, which prepare persons to teach in such fields of study.

The Secretary of DepEd shall award grants on the basis of a competitive bidding process. Each grant authorizes a five-year operation of the national teacher academy, renewable after the period.   

Funds provided shall be used to provide in-service training programs for teachers and administrators, including the study of subject matter, methodology, and teacher education, including effective strategies for teaching all students in mixed-ability classrooms; the use of the most recent applied research finds concerning education and the classroom, and integrating materials from different disciplines into classroom instruction, especially for elementary school teachers.

The bill also requires the use of funds to conduct at least one three-week summer institute each year; train the leadership teams to provide in-service training for teachers in the professional development schools established; provide support services to such professional development schools including the establishment of a national network of individuals to assist in teacher education programs in professional development schools; consulting assistance in the design and implementation of teacher education; and monthly newsletters or other methods of communicating useful information.