MANILA (Mabuhay) – A lawmaker has filed a measure lowering the compulsory retirement age of public school teachers to 60 years.
Under House Bill 4501 authored by Rep. Silvestre H. Bello III (Party List 1-BAP), the retirees shall be entitled to the benefits provided that the retiree has already rendered 15 years of service and at least 55 years of age at the time of retirement for optional retirement.
The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 8291, otherwise known as the Revised Government Service Insurance Act of 1997, that sets the mandatory and optional retirement age for government employees except those for the military and the police service.
Bello said there are about 14,000 newly licensed teachers every year but could not get a teaching job because the posts are still being held by senior teachers.
He said these new educators get stuck in unemployment, or go for odd jobs, which provide neither full employment nor career satisfaction.
“The few lucky ones find work in private schools, and so our youths in the public school system are deprived of the new teaching methods and youthful energy that these new and younger teachers possess,” Bello said.
“With long working hours and larger class sizes than our neighbor countries, these older teachers are unlikely to have the time, energy and opportunity to have other pursuits, or equip themselves with higher skills to be abreast with modern teaching methods and technology, or at least to prepare for alternative livelihoods to cross over to when they retire,” Bello added.
Bello said majority of elementary teachers in Malaysia and Indonesia are below 60 years old, while 15% of elementary school teachers in the Philippines are over 60 years of age.
“Research data in the US also point to the fact that young educators led to higher test scores for students, because they not only came on board with newer and more effective teaching practices, but were more energetic in experimenting and finding other methodologies to match their students’ aptitude levels,” Bello said.
Bello said opening the doors to early retirement for senior teachers would allow government to free up the salary of older and more expensive teachers and spread them to the younger teachers who are cheaper to hire.
“On the other hand, the early retirees will be able to enjoy many more good and healthy years remaining in them, enjoy the fruits of their labor, go overseas, spend more time with their families, or go for other pursuits,” Bello said. (MNS)