Group sees looming crisis in education as gov’t plans to send teachers to China

May. 02, 2019

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Sending more teachers to China will bring about greater effect on the country’s education system with the possible shortage of educators, the ACT Teachers Party-list said in a statement.

The group ventilated the reaction to the plan of the present administration to send more teachers to China, as suggested by Education Secretary Leonor Briones.

On Monday, Briones told reporters in a press briefing during the 2019 Palarong Pambansa that part of the country’s ongoing talk with China involves a cultural exchange that focuses on the aspect of education by both countries where plans highlight the employment of Filipino teachers to teach English language.

Briones also pointed out the need to work out the details on how to meet the interest of the Chinese government in inviting Filipino teachers to work in China.

“China has made a survey of various countries in Asia that teach English as a second language and they are impressed with the Filipino teachers not just on the capacity to speak English but also on the way they teach children,” Briones said.

Though they are not shocked to learn about the current talks between the Chinese government and the Department of Education (DepEd), Benjamin Valbuena, ACT national chair said the plan might create a huge impact on the current situation of education in the country.

Balbuena spoke to Davao Today on Wednesday saying,” China has been very active in its involvement to the government under the Build, Build, Build program. It is very obvious that they are active in dominating the plans and programs of the government which include their intrusion to Philippine education.”

Balbuena stressed out that to train teachers only to supply teaching forces to China will surely contribute to the crisis of education in the country as it is facing a shortage of teaching population catering more or less 60 students per class in public schools.

Around 300 teachers are currently undergoing capacity building lessons in Chinese-Mandarin in Angeles University and Confucius Institute for the High School elective. Mandarin Chinese as Briones stated, can help Filipinos on a global scale, and has been part of the United Nations international languages along with English, Spanish, Korean, German, and French.

When asked if will not create a vacuum to the needs of the number of teachers in the country, Briones clarified that for public schools, DepEd will look into the details on how it will affect the supply of teaching force in the country.

Teachers must meet the qualifications first that the Chinese government set before they can teach in China, she added.

In her early pronouncement, Briones already signified the belief that sending teachers to China will not affect the number of teaching population in private schools as the country continuously produce educators.

Briones also added that “it is a matter of where you want to work, where you want to retire and where you want to pursue your profession. It is a free choice that has to be made by the teachers.”

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)-Davao also expressed worry on the possible exodus of teachers to China with the belief that “many will surely grab an opportunity for a greater salary.”

In a separate interview, ACT-Davao chapter president Reynaldo Pardillo said it is certain teachers would apply for better pay in China than to remain in public schools in the country burdened with extra teaching loads with a low salary rate.

“This will only result to a smaller population of teachers willing to teach and sacrifice for our younger generation as many good opportunities are waiting for the country,” Pardillo added.

A present, Pardillo pointed out, the problem on the shortage of teachers result from the multi-teaching loads particularly at the senior high school level.

Some indications, he said, shows that teachers are forced to teach international subjects as an ‘additional burden’ to their working loads.

“There are no specializations on our part. Teachers who have the capacity to teach international subjects will teach students yet salary-wise, it does not reflect on your paycheck,” Pardillo said.

The group now challenges the DepEd and the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to first take a look at the welfare of the teachers across the country as they have long been asking for a salary increase and better benefit. (

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