Abolish CPD Law in the Philippines
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This is a petition to ABOLISH the Continuing Professional Development (CPD LAW) or Republic Act 10912, and IN SUPPORT OF House Bill 7171 or "An Act Repealing Republic Act 10912, Otherwise Known as The 'Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016'" introduced by ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio L. Tinio and Rep. France L. Castro, BAYAN MUNA Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, GABRIELA Women’s Party Rep. Emmi A. De Jesus and Rep. Arlene D. Brosas, ANAKPAWIS Party-list Rep. Ariel “Ka Ayik” B. Casilao, and KABATAAN Party-list Rep. Sarah Jane I. Elago, on the Second Regular Session of the Seventeenth Congress (filed on 13 February 2018).
We strongly clamor for the immediate scrapping of the CPD Law for a number of commonsensical reasons which reflect the expert opinion of most professionals, especially teachers.
Firstly, the CPD Law is an unnecessary law. As the saying goes, “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Before the CPD Law was crafted and implemented, professionals can renew their licenses relatively smoothly and worry-free: one just needed to bring his/her expiring license to the PRC central office in Manila (or any satellite office or service center some of which were located in malls), and there were few problems; generally, there were few complaints, everyone seemed to be satisfied with the status quo. And then the chaos of the CPD Law came: long queues in the PRC central office; unclear guidelines; exorbitant fees for applications for CPD accreditation; exorbitant fees for self-directed CPD activities etc. Scrapping the CPD Law will right away revert things to the nicer status quo when the only requirement for renewing one’s license is bringing his/her expiring license.
Secondly, even before the implementation of CPD, teachers – and all professionals – have been engaging in CPD activities. In the case of teachers, you can’t even be hired as an entry level public or private school teacher without engaging in any CPD. Teachers have been engaging in CPD activities without being legally compelled to do so, because CPD activities are simply part of the pre-application requirements for all teachers. Even after the granting of tenure/permanency to teachers, CPD activities remain part and parcel of any teacher’s activities such as Learning Action Cells (LAC) sessions, In-Service Trainings, seminars, workshops, conferences, trainings on curriculum and teaching methodologies and strategies and many other activities designed to further equip our teachers. Teachers are even taking further/graduate studies. Stricter promotion guidelines for most universities include mandatory publication requirements. Hence, the CPD Law is undue regulation. Teachers, schools, and professionals have been somehow smoothly engaging in CPD activities. The same is true with other professionals.
The CPD Law only made the process very costly, more bureaucratic and unnecessary regulative. Why regulate something that has been relatively successfully managing itself? Why regulate something which harms no one? If anything, we believe many things need immediate regulations such as political dynasties, commodity prices, rents and the like. Congress and Senate should focus their attention to these pressing matters that need to be regulated rather that overstretch themselves to regulate something that is already capable of regulating itself. Let us bear in mind that professional teachers undergo far more work-related trainings prior to actual employment, unlike say, elected officials who only need to be able to read and write. Congress and Senate should trust the teachers and their schools. Over-regulation makes things worse and slower.
Thirdly, with regard to the particular situation of teachers, we emphasize that we actually engage in DAILY self-directed CPD in the form of class preparation (for example, reading volumes of books and other references; preparing evaluation instruments from seatworks to quizzes; preparing rubrics; preparing daily lesson plans or semestral syllabi and very long reading lists etc.), checking papers and/or researches of students, monitoring the progress of students, discussing things with parents etc. Other professionals can certainly speak of similar things they do everyday in constantly improving their skills in the profession.
Fourthly, with regard to the aforementioned point, CPD is technically the holistic process of engaging in one’s profession. As teachers are already strictly monitored by their schools through their administrators and/or human resource managers/education program specialists, there is no need for a CPD Law that only serves to slow down and bureaucratize the process of CPD.
Fifthly, in relation to the previous point, giving PRC the power to scrutinize CPD activities is a huge waste of government resources. As mentioned, DepEd and CHED have been very good in doing their jobs at least with regard to strictly regulating seminars, conferences, and the like. DepEd and CHEd do not charge any fee in doing this.
Sixthly, permanent teaching licenses are awarded to qualifed professionals relatively hassle-free and without any mandatory CPD documentation and processing fees for recognition of CPD activities, in the states of Alberta and Manitoba in Canada, and the state of New Jersey in the USA, and in Hong Kong. Their systems account for the fact that CPD activities are already embedded at the school level just like in the Philippines. In the case of other professions, many countries offer the same deal to professionals.
Seventhly, if quality education is the end goal, mandatory CPD is not the solution. As mentioned, teachers regularly participate in CPD activities, aside from engaging with daily self-directed CPD too. What then is to be done to raise the quality of education in the Philippines? Plenty of things which Congress and Senate fail to prioritize such as the following: 1) raise teacher's salaries to ensure that the profession is able to attact more highly-qualified citizens; 2) compel schools to follow the global standards on the teacher-student ratio; 3) compel schools to hire teaching assistants/aids for every classroom teacher; 4) lighten the work load of teachers; 5) drastically raise public expenditure on education by scrapping automatic debt appropriation; 6) provide ample incentives and budget to teacher training institutions; 7) institutionalize and strengthen mechanisms for teacher participation in curriculum planning, budgeting, selection of administrators and offficials etc. from the grassroots level to the highest level (level of education agencies).
Lastly, given that CPD is already in place, what we need to do now is only to strengthen it by requiring/compelling all government and private institutions/agencies to provide quality and free programs for their teachers and employees as this is part of their obligation as employers.
With regard to other professions, various prominent professional organizations in every profession are capable enough to give CPD trainings to their ranks, as proven by past and current practice, and the government doesn't need to police or to over-regulate their activities as most of these professional organizations have been functioning smoothly for a number of decades now.
As members, affiliates, and allies of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Philippines (ACT-Philippines), Alliance of Concerned Teachers – Private Schools (ACT-Private Schools), Alliance of Concerned Teachers – National Capital Region Union (ACT-NCR Union) and the Philippine Public School Teachers Association – National Capital Region (PPSTA-NCR), we jointly call for the immediate ABOLITION of the CPD Law of 2016 and IN SUPPORT OF House Bill 7171 or "An Act Repealing Republic Act 10912, Otherwise Known as The 'Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016'", and urge other professional organizations to do the same.
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