MANILA — Senator Pia Cayetano on Monday sought for a review of the salary of the country’s 520,000 public school teachers, saying the pay hike is long overdue.
“We always say that the youth is our country’s hope, but who is preparing our youth for the future? Their fundamental education starts in the school, with our teachers. But are our teachers well compensated? Are they well cared for?” asked Cayetano.
Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture, noted that the last pay adjustment for the public school teachers was undertaken five years ago.
The lady lawmaker said upgrading the salaries of teachers would help them cope with the rising cost of living and boost government efforts to encourage young, bright college graduates to pursue a career in teaching.
“Historically, there are studies showing that the salaries of teachers have fallen behind compared to other professions. Yes, there was a substantial adjustment in 2009, but the law also requires Congress to review these salary grades every three years,” she said.
“Our Constitution also states that the biggest amount of funding should go to education and that we should attract the best and brightest students to become teachers. But in order to attract them, we should also be ready to offer competitive salaries for our educators,” she added.
Cayetano has recently led a public hearing on 11 Senate bills seeking to increase salaries and benefits for public school teachers and non-teaching education personnel.
Based on previous Senate hearings, Cayetano learned that the entry level monthly salary for public school teachers has been pegged at Php18,549 since 2009.
University of the Philippines (UP) College of Education Dean Dr. Rosario Alonzo told the Senate panel that a number of their graduates do not go into teaching, but choose to find employment in call centers instead, where salaries are much higher.
”We will study all 11 versions. There are bills proposing an across-the-board hike and there are those pushing for a salary grade upgrade,” Cayetano said.
She said the K to 12 program should be the consideration in the proposal to increase the salaries of the public school teachers.
”We should look at the compensation of teachers who are required to have additional training, including those who will teach in Senior High, and those who teach Physics and Mathematics. Incentives should be considered for those teaching posts,” Cayetano said.