Saying that the country needed more quality teachers than the sizes of classes and curricula, Senator Richard Gordon on Monday underscored the importance of raising the salary of public school teachers as a way of attracting and retaining the best educators in the country.
During the deliberations on the budget of the Department of Education (DepED) in the Senate, Gordon pointed out studies that showed neither class size nor school curricula produce bright and good students.
“But good and quality teachers do,” he stressed.
“Our country has the right population age to greatly contribute to the development of our country. But we’re going to miss the bus if we’re not going to improve the quality of education of our young population,” the senator said.
He added that for the country to be able to educate our young population and enable them to compete with the best in the world, the government must provide students with good, well-trained and properly motivated teachers, especially in the public school sector.
DepED is proposing for P567.5 billion budget next year to address the entry of senior high school students with the full implementation of the K to 12 Program.
With the opening of Grade 12, DepED said the agency must meet additional resources and to expand the alternative learning system.
Among the priorities the agency will implement next year are the building of 47,492 classrooms and 66,492 school seats.
DpeED will also hire around 53,831 additional teachers and procure 55.8 million learning materials worth P3 billion and 30,697 information and communications technology packages worth P6.9 billion.
The agency will also allocate P7.3 billion funds for 7,260 technical and vocational tools and equipment packages next year.
Senator Gordon also called on the DepED to strive to become Asia’s intellectual superpower, saying: “We have to leave our mark in the sense that we made the country better. We have to make our people become better educated so that we can be the intellectual superpower of Asia.”
He also reiterated to DepED officials to “Never mind the class size and the school curricula, it is good teachers that we need. Our children would be smarter and more competitive if they have good teachers. How can we entice the best instructors to teach in our public schools when the salary of our public school teachers lags behind teachers in our neighboring countries in Asia? We have to give them better salaries.”