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New teachers take professionals’ oath

02 April 2017

New teachers pose with Consul General Bernie Catalla and guests after the oath-taking ceremonies.

By Daisy CL Mandap

It took three years before the oath for new teachers in Hong Kong could be administered again, but there were still smiles everywhere when the occasion did take place on Mar 27 at the Consulate.

Taking the oath before Consul General Bernardita Catalla were a total of 74 new teachers – 37 each for the elementary and high school levels —who all passed the licensure examination administered in Hong Kong for three successive years, 2014 to 2016.

The ceremony was not held for the past three years apparently because of the mistaken notion that an official of the Professional Regulation Commission in the Philippines must administer the oath.
Taking the lead in preparations for the oath-taking were members of the National Organization of Professional Teachers – Hong Kong chapter led by president Gem Aquino Laurena.

She said that after the ceremony, NOPT plans to focus on conducting more continuing professional development workshops and lectures for its teacher-members.

“Right now, we are really trying hard to assess our needs because we only have limited time and resources to do so,” Laurena said.

Of concern are the equivalent points given to the trainings, as they could enable participants to go home and teach under a program adopted by the government that gives priority to returning OFWs.
In line with this, Laurena said NOPT plans to invite officials from the Department of Education to lecture to them about the K to 12 curriculum and the other programs that the government has provided especially for OFWs who plan to go back and teach.

Starting in 2014, DepEd has been allotting 300 permanent teaching items each year to qualified OFWs, but only a fraction has been taken up. This is because of the new qualifying system for teacher-applicants, including OFWs.

Under this system, applicants are assessed based on several factors, such as their education or academic achievement, teaching experience, special training or skills, interview, demonstration teaching and communication skills. Their grade in the licensure exam makes up only 15% of their overall score.

But as a concession to OFWs, the ranking test has yet to be applied to them. However, they must undertake a refresher course if they do not have any teaching experience, or have not taught in Philippine schools for at least five years.

In the meantime, the teachers are being advised to acquire more skills. “At the moment, we are encourging all of them to take livelihood and skills training given by OWWA for free, and take refresher courses online,” said Laurena. “We advise them to acquire more skills so they have the necessary knowledge to prepare themselves when applying for teaching positions”.

Another project is the holding of another licensure examination for teachers this year, and collaterally, the start of preparations for review classes.

In recent years, NOPT has faced a tough battle trying to improve the pass rate of Hong Kong-based examinees in the licensure examination. In last year’s examination, only 9.77% of the more than 600 examinees passed, far lower than the 30% pass rate recorded in 2013.

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