You want good quality teachers? Pay them right – World Bank expert

You want good quality teachers? Pay them right – World Bank expert

You want good quality teachers? Pay them right – World Bank expert

MANILA, Philippines – Ensuring that teachers receive the “right salaries” does not only help them make ends meet, it also ensures teacher quality, World Bank senior education specialist Javier Luque said recently.

In a forum on teacher quality hosted by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) on Wednesday, October 3, Luque said this meant aligning salaries of teachers to compete with those of other industries.

“The teaching salary has to be similar at least to other professions that require similar levels of trading and dedication…. We also make sure that there is some rewards to experience in teaching that is also comparable to what happens in other careers,” Luque said.

Currently, public school teachers are paid a minimum of P20,179, according to Salary Grade 11 of the 3rd tranche of Salary Standardization Law (SSL) in 2018.

The World Bank official said it was equally important to constantly evaluate how teachers’ salaries fared over the years. He cited the example of his home country, Peru, which saw a drastic decrease in teachers’ salaries amid rising inflation in the late 1980s.

Luque explained that due to poor economic conditions, the differences between salary grades of teachers across different levels “almost disappeared” or barely differed. He said his country is still reeling from the effects of this today.

“It’s very hard to change the people’s perception regarding teachers’ salaries. You may try to do that…increases to teachers salaries, and the government now is trying to do that – raise teachers’ salaries – but people remember. People remember those dramatic events where society did not protect teachers,” he said.

Policies to motivate, reward teachers: Luque said one way of increasing teachers’ salaries would be to create policies that motivate and reward teachers to pursue a career in education.

“Teaching is like a very flat profession because you will stay in the classroom and be doing the same thing year after year, so successful teaching systems create tracks for teachers. They see some progress as they get more experience,” he said.

Luque then cited the example of Singapore, which he said has “explicit financial incentives” and career paths for teachers to either become education specialists, principals, or continue teaching in classrooms.

He also mentioned the possibility of creating options for teachers that would help them to move up in there careers faster while addressing other issues in education, such as giving “bonus points” for teachers that chose to work in rural areas and undergoing additional teacher evaluations to help them move up faster.

Luque also discussed the possibility of “bonus pay,” which are incentives that would entice personnel to be more productive. This is similar to those seen in other industries. In education, this could be rewarding teachers for good results in their school and among students.

Should these be considered, Luque said, reforms must always prioritize student learning. However, he also advised government and schools to proceed with some caution when considering the use of “bonus pay” as the current understanding of how these systems work and what its effects may be remains weak.

The DepEd earlier said it was studying the career paths of teachers and proposed that promotions be given based on teachers’ competencies instead of waiting for vacancies to occur. Currently, data from DepEd and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed it took an average of 20 years for teachers to get promoted with only a 10% incease in salary from Teacher I to Teacher II position.

Why this matters: There have been several calls from teachers and Malacañang itself to raise teachers’ salaries. No less than President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted an increase in teacher’s salaries.

But Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said there would be no salary increases in 2018. He said doubling the salaries of some 880,000 public school teachers will cost the government an additional P343.7 billion in Personnel Services costs.

Despite this, the budget chief gave assurances that there are plans to increase teachers salaries beyond the SSL. He said that a study will be commissioned to do a “benchmarking” on the salaries of teachers and other government personnels in the first quarter of 2019. – Rappler.com

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