Private school teachers are a step closer to enjoying tenure sooner, as a technical working group (TWG) of the House committee on labor and employment has been created to harmonize bills batting for a shorter maximum probationary employment period for academic personnel.
The committee chaired by Rep. Randolph Ting tasked the TWG to consolidate House Bills 4933 and 3184, authored respectively by Rep. Raymond Mendoza and Rep. Harry Roque Jr., now presidential spokesperson.
The bills seek to institute a shorter probationary period for teachers, librarians, researchers, and other personnel with prescribed academic functions employed in private schools. In this vein, the bills seek to amend Presidential Decree No. 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines.
The bills seek to institute a shorter probationary period for teachers, librarians, researchers, and other personnel with prescribed academic functions employed in private schools.
This would mark a significant shift from policies currently and widely in use by private educational institutions. The issue has been a long standing one, with numerous reported instances of abuse of the probation period.
According to Mendoza, the nature of work of academic personnel and the high qualifications required for the practice of their profession put them at a disadvantage.
“However, these should not detract from the fact that private school academic personnel already have devoted so many years of preparations for their work, including at least four years of college studies, in-service training, many seminars, refresher courses and the like,” Mendoza said.
Meanwhile, in his bill’s explanatory note, Roque said there is a need to shorten the probationary employment from the existing three-year period to just a year of very satisfactory service for those in the elementary and secondary levels, from six down to two consecutive regular semesters of very satisfactory service for those in the tertiary level, and from nine to three consecutive trimesters of very satisfactory service for those in the tertiary level where collegiate courses are offered on the trimester basis.
Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) Legal Counsel Ada Abad noted that the three-year period is necessary to determine whether the faculty-employee has acquired the competency and mastery of the subjects they teach. Abad added that this has been a practice in the United States and Europe.
But Rep. Mark Go countered that three years is a long time to evaluate the competency of a teacher. He said that schools can accomplish this task in six to 12 months, citing the probationary period used by private companies.
This was echoed by Daniel Edralin, vice chair of Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa.
Lawyer Allan Montaño, national president of the Federation of Free Workers, suggested that the existing laws on probationary period must be harmonized for private and public school teachers.