It has been a fact that all who seek to pursue teaching as a career need to take the Licensure Examination for Teachers or the LET, but very few really know what the LET is, its purpose and significance in the education reform of the Philippines.
The LET was implemented in the Philippines throught the enactment of Republic Act 7836 or otherwise known as the “Philippine Teachers Professionalization Act of 1994” on December 16, 1994. The enactment of the law didn’t mean that the teachers in the Philippines were not “professional”. Rather it is a means to strengthen and improve not just the teachers, but also the quality of education and the whole education system in general. By improving the teachers, the students will naturally follow the embetterment of those who lead them.
Before R.A. 7836 was implemented, education in the Philippines was mostly regulated and supervised by the National Board for Teachers (NBT). Even though R.A. 7836 was signed as law in 1994, the first LET exam was held two years later. On August 1996, a total of 97,560 examinees took the first LET exam administered by both the Board for Professional Teachers (BPT) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
The examination for teachers at the elementary level consists of only two parts: the general education and the professional education; while the examination for the secondary level consists of three parts: the general education, professional education, and field of specialization. General education refers to core subjects like Filipino, English, Math, Science, and Social Science/Studies. Professional education refers to those related to the teaching profession like Facilitating Learning, Early Childhood and Adolescent Development and Education, Principles of Teaching, Methods and Strategies, Curriculum Development, and the Teaching Profession as a whole. Lastly the field of specialization refers to the specific discipline the secondary teachers have to teach like English, Biology, Chemistry, Math, Filipino, Social Studies, Music, Art, Physical Education and Health or MAPEH. Nowadays, there are usually 150 items for general education, 150 for professional education and 150 test items for the field of specialization which are taken for more or less 3 hours each for each part.
Because of this law, aspiring teachers must now get a license first before being able to teach in the public schools. Although the law requires a teacher to have a license, some private schools still accept fresh graduates who have yet to take the Licensure Exam. This is in part due to the lack of qualified teachers in teaching specialization subjects or vocational skills.
Since the implementation of the law, there has been a significant change in the method of teaching in the Philippines. Teachers who used to rely on textbooks have now begun to innovate their own teaching methods and strategies. The emphasis on continuing professional education (CPE), or taking the masteral and doctorate degrees, has now been more pursued by teachers who didn’t want to get left behind on the educational changes happening around them. Having more confidence in their teaching skill, teachers perform better and so do their students.