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 Pay, career growth push Filipino teachers abroad

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Female Number of posts : 880
Registration date : 2008-01-06

PostSubject: Pay, career growth push Filipino teachers abroad   Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:57 am

WHERE'S MA'AM? Filipino students are said to be the real casualties in the migration of highly-qualified Filipino teachers to more career-rewarding offers abroad. JHUMANILA, Philippines - Poor working conditions, a dim chance at career advancement and low salaries have continued to push thousands of experienced Filipino teachers to greener pastures abroad, leaving behind a generation of students hungry for quality education.

This was the concern of Annie Geron, secretary-general of Public Service Labor Independent Confederation (PS-LINK) at a forum on the mass migration of Filipino teachers amid the global economic crisis.

In less than a decade, PS-LINK said more than 4,000 Filipino educators, including school principals who demoted themselves to teaching jobs, have moved to the US, Middle East, and other Asian countries like China, Japan and Indonesia to teach.

In the US, Gerona said a Filipino teacher with at least three years of teaching experience could receive between $4,000 and $8,000 a month or 20 times their paycheck in the Philippines.

With more experienced teachers in core subjects like math and science leaving Philippine classrooms, the quality of education in the country is slowly becoming compromised, she added.

Math and science teachers who receive scholarships and study grants from Philippine institutions hike their chances of getting hired in the US. The continued outflow of Philippine teachers has helped create a shortage of 16,000 teachers as school year opened, Geron said, citing figures from the Department of Education.

If teaching is a public service, recently it has become a business.
– Shannon Lederer of the AFT
Shannon Lederer of the American Federation of Teachers, said part of the reason teachers are lured outside is because of very aggressive recruiters offering attractive packages to Filipinos, including permanent US residency.

"If teaching is a public service, recently it has become a business," Lederer said.

The AFT said there are 33 recruitment agencies luring teachers into the US. Currently, 19,000 foreign teachers are working in various US states such as Maryland, Texas and Louisiana. Federer said a very significant portion of this figure are Filipinos.

Aileen Mercado was among the first batch of 55 teachers who sought work in Baltimore’s school district in Maryland in 2005.

“It was a very, very risky move," Mercado said. “We didn’t know anyone from Baltimore."

Now, Mercado, who has petitioned her entire family to Maryland, said there are 600 teachers in Baltimore, which is 10 percent of the district’s teaching population.

Emphatizing with the teachers' plight, Labor Undersecretary Romeo Lagman vowed to help teachers who decided to stay in the Philippines have better working conditions.

"My wife is a teacher for 41 years," Lagman said. ‘But when she retired two years ago, her salary was only P14,000."

Geron is pushing for an increase in plantilla positions for teachers in the Philippines and an ethical recruitment process to avoid the brain drain. She suggested signing agreements with destination countries to train at least five teachers in the Philippines for every Filipino teacher they hire abroad. - GMANews.TV
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