By Macon Araneta

While the global assessment Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2019 revealed that the Philippines lags behind 57 other countries in Math and Science achievements, the study also reported that less than 50 percent of Grade Four learners were receiving instructions with “high clarity.”

For Sen. Win Gatchalian, this only reinforces the need to improve the quality of teacher education and training as the country’s basic education sector struggles with a major crisis: learners failing to master basic competencies and lagging behind in global assessments.

To measure the clarity of instruction that learners receive, the TIMSS used a scale that asked learners about the aspects of teachers’ instructions in Mathematics or Science, including the learners’ knowledge of teachers’ expectations. 

The scale also covers the capacity of their teachers to offer clear answers to questions, explain the subjects clearly, do a variety of things to help them learn, and explain again when learners do not understand.

Based on the results of the TIMSS, only 48 percent of Grade Four learners in the country reported receiving Mathematics instruction with “high clarity”, 37 percent received instruction with “moderate clarity”, while 15 percent received instruction with “low clarity.”

In terms of science instruction, 48 percent reported receiving instruction with high clarity, 36 percent received instruction with moderate clarity and 16 percent received instruction with low clarity.

According to the TIMSS, the clarity of instruction in Grade Four was positively associated with achievement in both science and mathematics. The Philippines, however, scored only 297 in mathematics and 249 in science — the lowest in both tests among 58 participating countries.

Gatchalian reiterated that while the Department of Education (DepEd) supports teachers’ skill upgrades, the country should first help aspiring teachers receive quality education and training from teacher education institutions (TEIs) to improve learner outcomes.

“We need to restructure the entire teacher education continuum from studying in college, getting a license, and teaching in our public schools,” said Gatchalian.

“Our public school system has 90 percent of our students so, if you have a poorly performing public school system, the entire nation is affected,” also  said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

Gatchalian filed Senate Bill number 1887 or the Teacher Education Council Act, which seeks to achieve better coordination between the DepEd, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in improving teacher education and training in the country.

The proposed measure also seeks to ensure the link and coherence between pre-service education and in-service education and improve teacher education outcomes’