PGMA tells DepEd to continue English proficiency program
Manila (16 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently instructed Education Secretary Jesli Lapus to continue the government's English-proficiency training program for public school teachers.
The President issued the directive after observing the ongoing National English Proficiency Program (NEPP) for elementary teachers at the P. Burgos Elementary School along P. Guevarra St. in Manila last Monday, February 15, 2010.
Noting that 100,000 of the country's estimated 500,000 teachers have already benefited, the President wants the program to continue.
"We have made progress in many areas, but more is needed to be done. I instruct Secretary Lapus that English training should be a continuing program," the President said.
The President said the government has allocated over P2.5 billion for teacher training over the last three years especially for English teachers.
The establishment of the NEPP in 2003 was an offshoot of Executive Order 210 mandating the use of English as a medium of instruction in the elementary grades and high school, particularly in English, Math and Science.
According to the President, the Department of Education (DepEd) is to be cited for their contribution to the English language proficiency. As a result of the teacher's grasp of the language, she said the National Achievement Test (NAT) went up from 44 percent to 65 percent in elementary schools and from 36 to 47 percent in high schools.
The President said she would like to visit one of the 23 Centers of Excellence to observe how newly hired teachers are trained.
To further improve the country's educational system, the President said a Presidential Task Force on Education was established headed by Jesuit educator Father Bienvenido Nebres.
"They have come up with what is called the Main Education Highway towards a Knowledge-Based Economy. It envisions seamless education from basic education to vocational school or college. And that is what we are trying to carry out," the President said.
She said she will continue her hands-on governance until her term ends to further promote key initiatives that include providing quality education for all and a continuous focus on the youth, "our best hope for a brighter, better Philippines."
The President said her administration has invested much in education and skills. She added she doubled the budget of DepEd, Technical Education and Skills Development Auhtority (TESDA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the state universities, to P180 billion from its P90 billion budget at the start of her term.
Also, the President said, 100,000 classrooms were built; miscellaneous fees eliminated for public primary schools; and school uniforms made optional.
To encourage the poor to keep their children in school, the President said her administration launched the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P) which provides conditional cash transfer of P 800 to P 1, 400 per family.
The current administration also extended scholarship to the GASTPE program.
Over 600,000 students are taking up undergraduate and post-graduate college courses.
"We created 60,000 teaching jobs, and increased teachers' pay. A Teacher I who was then receiving P9,000 now earns P14,000," the President said amid the applause of the teachers present.
All this, the President said is meant to achieve the difficult UN Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015, a feat only Cuba has so far achieved. (PIA) [top]