Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh Chargé d’Affaires Myca Magnolia M. Fischer and Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the implementation of the “Developing Filipino Global Teachers Program” in a virtual ceremony on 23 October 2020.
The program aims to equip, capacitate, and enhance the competencies of Philippine teachers in Cambodia, including those who have been repatriated to the Philippines. There are more than 1,000 Filipinos working as teachers in Cambodia, making up almost 17 percent of the total number of Filipinos in the Kingdom.
The program is intended to cater to the varied needs of Filipino teachers in Cambodia, particularly the following: in-service teachers who want to enhance their competencies and their impact in the classroom and beyond, to understand global issues; professionals who are not graduates of the Teacher Education Program and who intend to take the Philippine Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET); graduates of education programs but have not passed the Philippine LET; and accreditation as Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) teachers.
In his remarks, Chairperson De Vera noted the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent impact on Overseas Filipino Workers. He added, “It is therefore imperative that the government does not merely include OFWs in amelioration packages but must create interventions that will allow them to start anew and for those who choose to stay abroad, provide them opportunities to qualify for better employment.”
In his message, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. said, “The program is a timely and much needed help in this pandemic when teachers face large pay cuts and lay-offs and the stress of getting used to new teaching platforms. Being professionally competitive in education has taken a whole new meaning – translating to a rapid reset in skills and proficiency. Not adapting is simply not in the cards. Our Filipino teachers flourish in the Cambodian education system. They are much valued in their communities and loved by their students.”
The signing ceremony was “witnessed” by the presidents of the three Centers of Excellence in teacher education that will carry out the pilot implementation of this program, namely the St. Paul University Philippines in Tuguegarao, Cebu Normal University, and the Philippine Normal University. At the Embassy, Chargé d’Affaires Fischer was joined by some Filipino teachers in Phnom Penh and members of the Teachers Learning Action Guild of Cambodia.
CHED intends to expand this professional development program and offer it to Filipinos in other parts of the world.
On behalf of the Filipino teachers in Cambodia, especially the 250 Filipino teachers who have already signed up to participate in the program, Chargé d’Affaires Fischer expressed appreciation to CHED for its full support and cooperation in the development and implementation of this noteworthy program.
In her closing remarks, CHED Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Deputy Executive Director Atty. Lily Freida M. Milla said, “This launching event is not the culmination of more than a year’s work but, in fact, heralds the beginning of a new aspect of CHED’s partnership with DFA, the beginning of new paradigms of higher education collaboration in the Philippines, and the beginning of an endeavor to help and develop Filipinos to become global teachers.”