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Monday, September 25, 2006

Pinoy Teachers in the U.S.

Last July, 119 Filipino teachers arrived in Baltimore, in time for the new academic year, to fill the vacant positions in the school system. They are not the first group of teachers to migrate from the Philippines and from the looks of it they will probably not be the last. When a month’s salary in the US is equal to one year’s salary in the Philippines, it is not surprising to see thousands upon thousands of qualified teachers leave the Philippines for the United States. Teachers follow a long tradition of migrant Filipino professionals supplying the global need for doctors, nurses, accountants, engineers, computer programmers etc. Recruiters hired by American school districts scour the archipelago for qualified teachers. The exodus of Filipino teachers has taken a toll on the Philippine educational system. It is not uncommon to have a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:150.

Pinoy Post interviewed Sol Angala, the head of the Pinoy Teachers Network (PTN), a support network of Filipino teachers around the world. As the realities of teaching in a foreign country and in often times challenging and violent inner-city schools, Pinoy teachers find themselves struggling to adjust to their new environment. PTN provides the support needed by Pinoy teachers. Last year they organized a winter drive to collect winter clothing for teachers.

To learn more about the plight of our Pinoy teachers in the US, please listen to both portions of the interview. Click on the links below. The links will take you to a site where you can listen to the interview.

The first part of the interview discusses the background of the Pinoy Teachers Network and the current situation of Philippine education.
To listen to Part 1 of the interview, click this link:
Episode001A (est. 19 minutes)

The second part of the interview discusses the hardships faced by Pinoy teachers (some are beaten by their students) as they adjust to their work in the US. This portion also discusses what PTN can do to reverse the brain drain.
To listen to Part 2 of the interview, click this link:
Episode001B (est. 20 minutes)

For the transcript of this podcast, click this link:
Transcript-PinoyPost-Episode001

If you have ideas on how to help the teachers adjust to the U.S. and suggestions on how to reverse the brain drain in the Philippines, please post your comments below.

Pinoy Post would like to thank the following individuals for their invaluable help and unconditional support: Kitkat Mendoza, Mike Gabriel and Gina Guilatco-Gabriel.

2 Comments:

Blogger TEACHER SOL said...

Long overdue *smile, but as I promised we'll post this in the PTN website after our Meet & Greet event. Thanks, Edi. I hope we were able to express our message to the concerned people especially in the government. You can be a good journalist.

We are professional Filipino educators. We are going to inspire, be proactive, give hope and go the extra mile. We believe that these are the values a nation needs from the leadership of its Filipino educators.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Pinoy Post said...

Lawmaker wants teachers freed from election duties
By Delon Porcalla
The Philippine Star 10/29/2006

The country’s half-a-million public school teachers should be relieved of their poll duties, and this is why the Philippines should adopt full automation in the May 2007 mid-term elections, a party-list lawmaker said yesterday.

Once a nationwide automated system is in place, the "election process will allow teachers to render instead voluntary, and not mandatory service during elections," said Rep. Eulogio "Amang" Magsaysay, who represents the Alliance of Volunteer Educators.

"I believe that once we adopt an automated system in the conduct of the next elections, it will not be hard for us to take our teachers out of their election duties," Magsaysay said, following the passage of Senate Bill 2231 or the Automated Election System Act of 2006.

Magsaysay, who belongs to the administration bloc, said that "with the use of automated machines, we will need fewer teachers to man the polls and therefore, we can make it voluntary and no longer mandatory."

The party-list congressman pointed out this will help lessen the vulnerability of teachers — just like military men who man the precincts — to politicians. Military personnel are now totally barred from poll duties.

"Since time immemorial, we have been lobbying against the exploitation of teachers during elections," Magsaysay said. "As molders of the young inquisitive mind, teachers are considered non-partisan and more than competent to render election duties."

"At the same time, youth and other civic-oriented groups can do the job as well without imposing on anyone or dictating upon any group or sector something against its will," he explained further.

Magsaysay is one of the authors of House Bills 2864 and 2898, or the measures that allow public school teachers to concentrate on their teaching jobs, and disengage them from compulsory election duties.

The education sector representative cited many instances where the lives of teachers have been put in danger in doing their poll duties.

"Aside from the physical and mental fatigue they always endure during elections, they become subject of various forms of harassment from politicians and their supporters," he noted.

"Unlike the military who have their guns and bullets to protect them against the perils of looking after the ballots, teachers only have chalk and blackboards since their main purpose is to teach. How do you expect them to defend themselves from such threats?" he asked.

Magsaysay, however, admitted that under the Omnibus Election Code, it is still the legal mandate of public school teachers to render service during elections. "The government should study the possibility of making this service voluntary and not mandatory."

With this, Magsaysay is further pushing for the immediate release of their allowance, saying that teachers’ salaries "are not enough to support their daily living, that is why most of them have no choice but to really serve during elections."

In a statement, Magsaysay further pointed out that with the imminent danger confronting teachers, the "government should give them additional insurance coverage aside from the security personnel provided to them every time they serve in election."

During a previous election, it was reported that 18 teachers from Diosdado P. Macapagal Elementary School in Quezon City (then Tatalon Elementary School) got caught in a crossfire between local political factions.

During the 1995 polls, Filomena Tatlonghari, a public school teacher in Mabini, Batangas, was shot dead by a group of men who tried to snatch a ballot box from her.

11:23 AM  

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