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Davao City, Philippines

Sad reality after the LET exams

December 03, 2019 - Tuesday 4:12 AM by Allan Nawal

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For the past two months, the 229,000 Education graduates for 2019 have anxiously waited for announcements on who passed September's Licensure Examination for Teachers for both the elementary and high school.

In our clan alone, there were more than two dozen members who took the LET in various regions – from the National Capital Region to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Just imagine how celebratory the mood is when the results came out on Sunday.

All of our clan members who took the exams passed, so it was already expected when I got text messages inviting me to the thanksgiving for this and that relative.

The celebratory mood has become more understandable because out of the number of examinees, only 83,152 takers had been granted License for Professional Teachers.

Out of this number, 54,179 made it and became secondary education teachers. The rest got licenses to teach in elementary

Overall, the total national passing rate was just 36.5 percent.

So imagine how proud the passers and their families were.

It would take another day or two before the celebrations would settle down and the passers would start crafting their curriculum vitae or fill up Civil Service Form 212 or their Personal Data Sheets.

Like the exams itself, crafting CVs or filling up PDS forms are also exciting, even if doing so is quite tedious.

Those who passed would also be securing other documents such as their transcript of records and various clearances, starting from the barangay.

As soon as they complete these sets of requirements, they would either troops to various Department of Education offices or to private schools in their areas to submit their application for a teaching job.

This is when reality strikes.

While thousands of teaching positions are indeed available, with the government's massive expansion of the education sector and the growing number of learners, the competition is so stiff because aside from September's passers, there were also those who passed the exams in the previous years – who remain unemployed today.

I am not being negative. I'm just trying to be realistic.

Each year, public and private schools have been churning out more Education graduates than the country can accommodate.

It has led to a supply glut.

This is why we see many Education graduates landing unrelated jobs in various companies – from sales to call centers.

The number of yearly passers who would definitely find difficulty in getting employed as teachers grow every year. In statistics, that would mean pushing up the unemployment rate – aside from the underemployment rate.

So what must we do?

A moratorium on Education courses is not possible. We cannot afford to stop offering Education course just because graduates could not be accommodated because it would spell disaster for private schools.

For me, the most sensible thing to do is to start limiting the number of students that each school should accommodate in their Education courses. For example, each school should only cater to say 50 students per level, unlike today when a school had all the liberty to open more sections just to take in more enrollees.

Second is for the government to spend more to open additional elementary and high schools so that stories such as learners hiking several kilometers of unforgiving trail just to go to school in the nearest barangay – probably 10 kilometers away – would become a thing of the past.

This could be made possible by doubling or significantly increasing DepEd's budget so it could hire more teachers – higher than the 10,000 it aims to hire next year – and build more schools.

And third is for private schools to also expand in rural areas so more teachers would be hired.

Of course, teaching jobs are also available abroad but shouldn't we educate our children first before educating those of other nations?