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Why are teachers seeking greener pastures outside of the Philippines?

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  • More and more teachers and educators are choosing to leave the country for better opportunities abroad
  • In a report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) from January to July 2017, an average of 5,000 Filipinos have been leaving the Philippines
  • With the problems with wages in the country, and the government encouraging migration, this is a perfect climate to breed the idea that going out of the country is the best choice for our educators

More and more teachers and educators are opting to seek more opportunities and greener pastures outside of the country. It has been an ongoing issue for the Philippines’ education system for the past decade and more and more teachers are still opting to go out of the country to seek better job opportunities.

In a report of the International Labor Organization (ILO) from January to July 2017, an average of 5,000 Filipinos have been leaving the Philippines daily.

Testimony after testimony has popped up online about the joys of teaching outside of the country. The opportunity to become a ‘global teacher,’ and being exposed to different kinds of learning opportunities have been the selling point for these teachers, along with a hefty salary and a chance to get less workload for the amount of pay that was received.

There are 880,000 public school teachers in the Philippines in 2018 according to the Department of Education (DepEd). 

In 2019, 27.7 million students are enrolled. Of this, 23.5 million are in public schools. With a staggering number of students, the teacher-student ratio is also growing less ideal—1 teacher per 31 students, according to the DepEd, for elementary; 1 is to 36 for junior high school and 1 is to 31 for senior high.

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via ABS-CBN News

The monthly basic pay of a public school teacher in the Philippines is P20,754 while in private schools it is roughly P12,500. Some even pay lower or higher depending on the school. The pay scale varies in higher educational institutions where instructors are paid per hour. But the salary could hardly cover rising cost of basic needs and expenses.

Years have gone by with the promise of raising the salary of public school teachers. This administration is no exception as President Rodrigo Duterte also did so. But, it would seem that teachers are not part of his planned agenda because he prioritized doubling military and police salaries because of their importance in “ensuring national security.”

Teachers’ groups are demanding a P10, 000 increase per month, but Duterte hedged, saying it was difficult to raise funds for the demand with the sheer number of teachers.

And to be fair, our government encourages migration. 

In fact, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration allows recruiters to target teachers for overseas deployment. Last March 12, the DepEd said, the Ministry of Education of Thailand proposed a memorandum of understanding for the employment of Filipino teachers in Thailand. 

In 2018 Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III took pride in a bilateral agreement between the Philippines and China that would admit Filipino English teachers in China.

Be it as it may that more and more teachers are choosing to leave the country, on the bright side, teachers are staying too. And, if ever our migrant teachers would return to the motherland, they can share their experiences to the waiting learners here. -Inquirer


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