Briones eyes mandatory financial literacy workshops for teachers
MANILA, Philippines – Education Secretary Leonor Briones is considering making it mandatory for teachers to take financial literacy workshops, given the recent controversy over teachers’ loan payments.
“We would have to make it mandatory perhaps because we are going to teach the children. The law says the high school students have to be taught financial literacy so we have to be prepared, we have to prepare the curriculum and so on and so forth, so it might be mandatory,” Briones said in a Rappler Talk interview on Thursday, November 16.
Briones said teachers themselves must be wise in their finances to set a good example to their students, who will soon count financial literacy among their subjects in compliance with Republic Act No 10679 or the Youth Entrepreneur Act.
The Department of Education (DepEd) chief also cited Republic Act No 10922, which declares every second week of November as Economic and Financial Literacy Week.
During this time, the DepEd and other education agencies are ordered to conduct “consciousness-raising and knowledge-expanding activities on economic and financial literacy,” usually led by teachers.
For Briones, teachers should not take as an insult being branded as financially illiterate.
“Now to say that one is financially illiterate is insulting, I don't think so. I am financially illiterate,” said Briones, a former teacher herself.
“I did not think about savings. I did not think about investment. I only thought about sharing whatever I had with people I wanted to help and I never thought about what I would leave behind to my children if anything happens to me. I am financially illiterate,” she added.
Briones is now mulling requiring financial literacy for current teachers after their debts from the Government Service Insurance System's (GSIS) loan programs have reached P123 billion in December 2016.
Teachers nationwide also owe private lending institutions around P178 billion.
These huge debts prompted Briones to sign DepEd Order No 38, series of 2017 in July, which prioritized deductions from teachers’ salaries to pay off GSIS and Pag-IBIG Fund loan payments.
This caused an uproar from teachers, because some teachers ended up receiving a salary below the mandated P4,000 net take-home pay in October.
Briones then signed DepEd Order No 55, guaranteeing teachers’ salaries will not go lower than P4,000 even if GSIS and Pag-IBIG Fund loan payments will be deducted.
The DepEd chief argued, however, that the criticisms being hurled at them is “misplaced.” – Rappler.com