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World Bank calls for teacher skill enhancement in Philippines

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
World Bank calls for teacher skill enhancement in Philippines
“If countries want to improve the quality of teaching in schools, their primary focus in the next 10 years should be on improving the stock - i.e. the quality of their current teacher workforce,” the World Bank said in a study, which looked into the existing teacher stock and primary education in East Asia and the Pacific’s middle-income countries.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Countries in East Asia and the Pacific including the Philippines will need to work on upgrading the skills and knowledge of the current teacher workforce in the next 10 years to improve the quality of education, according to the World Bank.

“If countries want to improve the quality of teaching in schools, their primary focus in the next 10 years should be on improving the stock - i.e. the quality of their current teacher workforce,” the World Bank said in a study, which looked into the existing teacher stock and primary education in East Asia and the Pacific’s middle-income countries.

The multilateral lender said there is a need to improve the quality of teaching in middle-income countries in the region with many children not learning to read.

It cited countries like the Philippines and Laos where more than 90 percent of 10-year olds cannot read and understand age-appropriate text.

“To accelerate learning in these countries, better teaching will be needed,” the World Bank said.

This would require having teachers with better skills and knowledge.

Citing surveys conducted in six East Asian countries, the World Bank said the academic credentials of primary education teachers (Grade 5) vary, with all or the majority of children in the Philippines (100 percent), Malaysia (89 percent), and Myanmar (88 percent) having a teacher with at least a bachelor’s degree from a university, while the figure in Vietnam was lower at 68 percent.

In Laos, less than one percent of children, on average, had a teacher with a bachelor’s degree.

As for Cambodia, approximately 60 percent of the students had a teacher with secondary education or lower academic credentials.

The World Bank said improving the quality of the existing teacher workforce is important as the study found that in every East Asia and Pacific country, teachers who are already in the system are expected to make up the majority of those still employed in schools in 2030.

It said the quality of the current teacher stock can be improved by having more and better teacher professional development programs.

The World Bank study also found that most countries in the region would need to expand their teacher workforce.

This measure is being taken to address the growing number of students and mitigate the potential negative impact of overcrowded classrooms on the quality of education.

As some teachers opt to leave the profession, countries will also have to fill vacant positions.

“Thus, all countries will need to recruit new teachers over the next decade, and in some countries, teacher recruitment will be significant; hence improved selection and recruitment will still be important,” the World Bank said.

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