Senator Sonny Angara Supports Salary Increase for Teachers

New Education Secretary to Focus on Teacher Salaries and Working Conditions

Senator Sonny Angara, the new Education Secretary, is considering a proposal to raise the starting salary of public school teachers to P50,000. This plan aims to improve the lives of teachers and attract more talented individuals to the profession.

Angara’s Commitment to Teachers

Angara, appointed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., succeeds Vice President Sara Duterte at the Department of Education (DepEd). He emphasized the importance of better working conditions and salaries for teachers.

“The salary increases for government employees are decided by Congress. We fully support these increases and have been pushing for them, especially when I was part of the Senate Committee on Finance,” Angara said in an interview.

Studying the Proposal

Angara will coordinate with the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to explore the possibility of raising the entry-level salary for teachers to P50,000. He believes that well-compensated and inspired teachers can significantly improve the quality of education.

House Bill 9920

In February, lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc, including France Castro, Arlene Brosas, and Raoul Manuel, filed House Bill 9920. This bill proposes a P50,000 starting salary for public school teachers to address the gap between their salaries and the cost of living and to rectify pay disparities with military personnel.

Improving Working Conditions

Apart from salary increases, Angara aims to reduce the non-teaching tasks of teachers, allowing them to focus on their primary duties. Earlier this year, an order from Vice President Duterte relieved teachers of administrative tasks. Duterte also announced plans to hire 5,000 more administrative staff in 2024 and increase funding for school maintenance and other operating expenses.

Gadget Ban in Classrooms

Angara supports a proposal to ban mobile phones and other gadgets in classrooms to help students focus on their studies. This proposal, introduced by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, seeks to prohibit the use of electronic devices by students and teachers during class hours. Gatchalian pointed out that excessive use of mobile devices negatively affects student performance and contributes to cyberbullying.

However, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) suggests strict regulation instead of an outright ban, arguing that smartphones can be beneficial for research and accessing educational materials.

Conclusion

As the new DepEd Secretary, Angara’s focus on improving teacher salaries and working conditions reflects his commitment to enhancing the education system. His support for a gadget ban in classrooms also aligns with efforts to improve student performance.