RAISING teachers’ salaries is as equally important as increasing the pay of the military and police because doing such is an effort to address underdevelopment in the country. The Palace recently remarked it is prioritizing the latter due to their integral role in building a “strong country.”
The truth is that cultivating a progressive country through quality education is just as vital as building a strong republic. Giving teachers just compensation serves as an aid to addressing underdevelopment; such crucial role of education is what makes teaching an esteemed and dignified profession. Ensuring a learned constituency should be valued as much as ensuring peace and order in the country.
The Palace also mentioned of how the government is working on increasing teachers’ salaries but issued a reminder that there are “millions of them.” Well, public school teachers number to only 800,000-plus. Still, the public school teachers’ huge number should not be treated as a bane. It should instead be valued, given the educators’ crucial role in molding the youth to be productive members of society. This is the teachers’ unique part in national development.
Also, the vast number of teachers is in itself a treasure that must be cherished by the state. Teachers, as the mother of all other professions, can produce millions of citizens that are equipped to partake in the building of a productive and progressive Philippines.
The issue of teachers’ meager pay boils down to the government’s prioritization. The Constitution guarantees that education gets the biggest budget allocation, which is reflective of the worth of the sector. However, such is not reflected in the actual budget provided to education and to the compensation given to teachers.
The problem isn’t the lack of funding but really the government’s priorities. The P3.757-trillion 2019 spending program can attest to the huge resources we have and, just the same, to what the government values. Unfortunately, education suffered significant budget cuts while “Build, Build, Build” and the “war programs” (drugs, crimes, etc.) got the huge chunk of the budget.
The government must review its priorities and give due recognition and importance to teachers and to the entire education sector. The state should realize that there is absolutely no loss in granting teachers a decent pay.