MANILA — Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones said financial literacy is crucial for teachers, especially because the teachers’ debt has been increasing.
“It is very, very important. Because right now, teachers owe PHP170 billion from legitimate lending institutions,” Briones told the Philippine News Agency.
Data from the DepEd revealed that teachers from across the country have incurred PHP178 billion worth of loans from private institutions.
“From Day 1, even if their employment papers have not yet been issued, private institutions entice them to borrow money,” Briones said, adding that when she came in as DepEd Secretary, the total debt of teachers is PHP120 billion.
“After one year, it has reached PHP170 billion. So something has to be done,” she emphasized.
This is why, the Education chief said the agency welcomes financial literacy programs, and also noted that there is an urgent need for such.
Prudence Foundation, for instance, has organized a financial literacy conference last October 26 in Makati. About 250 Grade 4 teachers and principals from various schools from across the country attended the seminar.
The event, dubbed as the Fourth Cha-Ching Educators’ Conference on Financial Literacy, aims to make teachers financial literate, explained Prudence Foundation chairman Donald Kanak, in an interview with reporters recently.
“The goal is to teach them how to invest, how to save,” he said.
Briones said Prudence Foundation is not the only entity that offers financial literacy program for teachers. There are many others, according to her, because the need becomes obvious.
She said DepEd is also initiating its own programs on financial literacy, and that a good number of civil organizations want to partner with the agency for these programs.
Briones told PNA that DepEd has a study which it would reveal in the proper time.
“In this study, we asked where does the borrowed money go? What are the expenditure patterns of teachers these days?” She shared.
There are very interesting findings indicating that things are really changing, according to her.
“During my time, a great part of our expenses is for the tuition of our children, although there are also some which go to consumer expenditures. We look at these things in this study,” she said.
It may be recalled that last Thursday, Briones signed DepEd Order (DO) 55 or the “Revised Guidelines on the Implementation of PHP4,000 Net Home Pay for the DepEd Personnel”.
The DO will prioritize loan deductions due the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), and will ensure that these teachers will have no less than PHP4,000 net in their monthly take-home pay.
DepEd said this move aims to help teachers manage their finances after data showed that many teachers avail of various loans.