Filipino teachers among lowest paid in Asia, lawmaker says

WITH only a starting salary of $9,200 yearly, it is no wonder that university teachers are forced to leave the country to seek greener pastures, legislators said during World Teachers’ Day on Wednesday.

“Our teachers are among the least compensated in the region. Salaries of teachers in Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan almost doubled after 15 years of teaching experience while those in the Philippines receive a meager 10 to 15-percent increase,” Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Luzviminda Ilagan, who taught at Ateneo de Davao University for four decades, said.

Citing data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), the starting salary of Filipino teachers after 15 years only increased to $10,150. Their highest salary amounts to $10,930.

Countries like Korea and Japan provide starting salaries of at least $25,000 which may double or triple depending on years of teaching experience.

Ilagan said “not only is it a dishonor, it is also an injustice for our teachers to teach amid conditions of scarcity and slave-like compensation”.

A legislator also found the opportunity to call on President Benigno Aquino III to address problems in the education sector.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio meanwhile joined hundreds of public school teachers to protest the declining state subsidy to the education sector.

Together with the Cebu City teachers, Tinio attended the “Grand World Teachers Day Parade”, which commenced from Cebu Normal University to Fuente Osmena Circle.

“No appreciation would be greater than a higher priority given to education and its workers, not just formally but substantively through a higher budget,” he noted.

Tinio called on his fellow lawmakers to study, deliberate, and debate on the legislation of a new round of salary increases for government employees beginning 2013. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)