Private School Vs Local Government School: When I began my teaching career in the year 2000, I was full of optimism. I had a belief that teachers were among the bests in their schools. As Lee Lacocca said,” In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.” In my case, I was an accidental teacher because I just took a chance of applying to a private school in college when I resigned as a researcher in a government agency.
Private School Vs Local Government School
As a first-timer, I was able to pass the demo teaching supervised by the department head and the Dean of the General Education Department of a private school that offered courses about electronics and information technology.
The more meaningful part of that experience was the friendship that I was able to build with the two of them who hired me (a math professor and an English professor). At that time, I was not too much concerned about my salary and I did not know how the system worked. All I cared about was sharing what I knew about social science subjects and contributing even a little to the growth and development of our youth. I thought I could only last for a year. I never realized that I have come to love this job and have even reached 20 years of teaching experience.
Interestingly, I have 10 years in private school and 10 years in the local government schools, which comprise my 20 years teaching career. With my vast experience, I would like to enlighten newcomers about the reality of the teaching career in the Philippines. If you are one of those who would like to strengthen your conviction that being a teacher is your calling, may this blog serve as an inspiration and a warning?
The nobleness of being a teacher in the Philippines would depend on how you will overcome the challenges that you may encounter while you embark on the road of self-actualization as an educator. I have to say that it is a rough road but a very fulfilling one.
You will be able to test the veracity of things that you have learned in college into real-world scenarios, which may intrigue or surprise you at some point. For this blog, I will discuss two important aspects of the school system, which are compensation schemes and organizational structure.
Educational System in the Philippines
In the Philippines, teachers in the elementary and secondary levels have the same ranking system as regulated by the Department of Education. On the other hand, the Commission on Higher Education regulates the tertiary level. The teachers can be hired by either private or government-owned schools.
The pay system is different between private and public. The private schools (elementary, secondary, or tertiary) pay the teachers depending on their income or revenues. Thus, private schools have to do some aggressive marketing through TV commercials or social media just to get the desired rate of enrollment. Teachers’ salaries are dependent on the number of enrollees.
Highly reputable private schools can sustain their number of teachers and can provide attractive pay and benefits. In contrast, private schools that are not popular are forced to hire teachers on a contractual basis ( teachers are terminated if enrollment figures are not good). In other words, teachers in the lesser popular private schools are always vulnerable to dismissal because of the fluctuating enrollment figures.
Compensation scheme and Incentives System
The compensation scheme and incentives system is, of course, the most important consideration of a teacher whether to apply in private or in public schools in the Philippines. In private schools, the compensation scheme and incentives system are clear and highly systematic. The ranking mechanisms are transparent and the criteria are strictly followed by the top management to determine the pay rate of every teacher. The pay system depends on teaching experience, specialization, publications or research papers, community involvement, and most importantly, post-graduate degrees (Master’s or Doctoral Degree). More importantly, the salary increases consistently every year, though gradually (depending on the enrollment figures).
On the other hand, the pay system and benefits in locally funded tertiary schools are more attractive and stable because the salary and benefits are already funded. If the local chief executive is generous enough, he/she will give additional bonuses.
In a locally or nationally-funded school, the budget for employees and teachers is already allotted before the start of the year. No reason to delay the salary because of the budget process that has to be followed. But, if a teacher occupies a contractual position, his/her salary is dependent on the availability of funds.
In my first local government school, I had to wait for six months before I got my salary because funds allotted to contractual teachers were not yet available. The condition of the contractual teacher is the same as the private school since teaching loads are highly dependent on the number of enrollees. However, for the permanent, salary and benefits should be given on time under the Labor Law of the Philippines. Regrettably, bonuses, salaries, clothing allowance, and others are sometimes delayed in locally funded government schools because of some unknown reasons (the reasons may only be apparent to school administrators or the local chief executive).
Organizational Structure in Private School Vs Local Government School
The next important aspect that a teacher has to look into if he/she chooses a school to teach is the organizational structure. The organizational structure refers to the hierarchy of positions, top officials, policy, and how things are organized in school. This is a critical aspect of the school because protocols, decision-making processes, and procedures on how people should behave are included in it. In private schools, the organizational structure is clear and relatively stable. There is a vice president for academics, department head, and other essential positions. Typically, only the people occupying the high-ranking positions are changed but not the organizational structure itself. People who occupy these positions are being deliberated systematically by considering the qualifications, credentials, performance, and other factors included in the merit system before the applicant is designated or hired.
In contrast, the people occupying the high-ranking positions of a locally funded school are regularly changed depending on the trust and confidence of the newly elected university president (who is also appointed by the local chief executive). Almost, in short, if there is a newly elected local chief executive, the people occupying high-ranking positions of the school are automatically replaced by new ones based on his/her trust and confidence. In most cases, even the organizational structure of a locally funded school changes. This usually confuses because it also alters the protocols, decision-making process, and procedures that have been previously implemented.
In reality, both public schools and private schools in the Philippines are prone to nepotism in terms of hiring or appointment of top officials who have the authority to make major decisions that may affect the stakeholders (employees, teachers, students, and the community).
However, in my experience, a locally funded school is more vulnerable to nepotism than a private school. In private schools, the merit-based recruitment system strictly prevents the applicants who are directly or personally related to the owners or officials of the school to be hired because of some legal and ethical impediments. Unfortunately, top officials of a locally funded school can easily be appointed by the local chief executive even without serious consideration of their credentials. As mentioned, the local government provides funds to the local school, which gives it the “power of the purse.” The authority to fund the school by local government politicians gives them enormous power on the appointment of people in high-ranking positions regardless of the existing hiring system.
Private School Vs Local Government School
As a form of practice, the local politicians tend to appoint those people who have helped them in their electoral bid to high positions in the school as a form of debt of gratitude (“Utang na Loob”). I admit that we Filipinos can not resist the temptation of granting the request of people who have helped us in the past. However, I honestly believe that such tradition has adversely affected locally funded schools in the Philippines. Specifically, the said practice has given unqualified people an undue advantage because they could occupy high-ranking positions that may affect the teachers, students, and the school in general.