1,300 Muslim Teachers Take Special License Exam In Sulu ProvinceApril 6, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment
More than 1,300 Muslim teachers take the “licensure” examination Sunday, April 06, 2008, in the southern Philippine province of Sulu. President Gloria Arroyo sent a team from the Professional Regulation Commission in Manila to supervise the examinations of teachers at the Sulu State College in Patikul town. It was the second time since last year the PRC has conducted the examinations in Sulu. Many teachers say they cannot afford the high cost of traveling to Zamboanga City to take the licensure examinations. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 06, 2008) – More than 1,300 Muslim teachers took their licensure examination Sunday in the southern Philippine province of Sulu.
It was the second time since last year the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) held such examinations in the province. President Gloria Arroyo ordered the licensure examination in Sulu after on the request of Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan.
Tan said the teachers cannot afford to go to Zamboanga City in Mindanao Island to take the examinations.
“It was so difficult for the teachers to go to Zamboanga because they cannot afford to pay the cost of travel. With a meager salary, teachers would rather spend their money on food and medicines,” Tan told the Mindanao Examiner.
The examination, held at the Sulu State College, took more than 8 hours and teachers are optimistic they will pass the long and arduous written test.
German Palabyab, PRC Director, said at least 1,370 teachers took the examination. He said they will hold another licensure examination in September. “From now on there will be regular licensure examinations for teachers in Sulu, at least twice a year and this is all part of our effort to help in the educational system in the province,” he said.
Palabyab admitted the difficulties of the teachers in Sulu to take the examinations in Zamboanga City because of the high cost of travel and other expenses.
“It is difficult really for the teachers to become a professional because they have to attend review sessions that cost an arm and a leg. President Arroyo is very supportive of our endeavor and we are happy to be part of this. We all have a stake in the future of our young people,” he said.
Last week, Tan hired a group of educators to conduct review classes for the teachers to prepare for the licensure examination.
Many temporary state teachers in Sulu have not been paid their salaries the past months, others since 2007, because they lack government requirements, such as the PRC license that will enable them to be professional.
Hundreds of teachers last year had walked out of their classes to protest the alleged failure of the Department of Education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to pay their salaries. But regional education officials insisted the teachers have not been paid because they either not passed the PRC licensure examination or are not qualified.
Sulu has more than 5,000 teachers and about 900 of them are with temporary status serving some 50,000 students in 19 towns.
Teachers here have blamed problems of delayed and missing salaries and contributions to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to corruption. More than P389 million of teachers’ contributions to GSIS were allegedly missing and that this has ballooned to over P600 million over the years and yet ARMM continues to deduct insurance premiums from their salaries.
The teachers were asking for a formal Congressional or Senate investigations into the missing GSIS contributions and salaries and jail those who would be found guilty of embezzling funds.
The Department of Education topped the list of the government budget recipients with P138 billion allocated as follows: P2 billion for the repair of school buildings; P760 million to cover the backlog of classrooms; and P420 million for school seats and P330 million to hire new teachers.
But while the bulk of the national budget goes to education, it remains inadequate to address the problems crippling the education sector.
The Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), a national confederation of government employees and their unions and associations, said teachers are among the skilled workers that have joined the exodus of Filipinos leaving for abroad due to the lure of higher pay.
Attracting and retaining competent public school teachers remains a huge problem in the Philippines.
Many state teachers are overworked but underpaid. A public school teacher here only gets around P10,000-P15,000 a month while a Filipino teacher in the United States can earn up to P40,000 or more.
Low-paying jobs, deplorable working conditions and lack of opportunities in the country also drive some teachers to become domestic workers or caregivers just so they can work abroad. (Mindanao Examiner