What’s behind a policy? Exploring the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers policy’s ideological intent



education policy, teacher professionalism, professional standards for teachers


Teacher professionalism has been a long-standing discussion in education. Despite the absence of a common definition, education scholars refer to this as the improvement in the quality and standards of teachers and their practices (Demirkasımoğlu, 2010; Hargreaves, 2000) and the enhancement of the teaching profession (Hoyle, 2001). In the Philippines, teacher professionalism has recently become the focus of education reform with the introduction of the new policy in 2017, the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST) policy. Despite the claim of government leaders and education officials that the recent policy would help teachers achieve personal growth and professional development, the policy was introduced without a clear introduction of its ideological intent. This article examines this tension by analysing the ideologies that underpin the PPST policy, and comparing and contrasting these to the ideologies emphasised in the policy it replaced, the National Competency-based Teacher Standards (NCBTS) framework. Using thematic analysis, the findings suggest that the change of policies reflects a shift from collectivism to individualistic orientation. This is manifested in the shift of focus from the teaching practices to teachers themselves, from emphasising student learning outcomes to wider national goals, from the promotion of mutually obligate individuals’ goals to personal aspirations, and from advocating innovation of practices to professional accountability. This article reveals that the PPST policy aligns teacher professionalism with the neoliberal agenda in education.

Author Biography

Alea Ann Francisco Macam, University of Waikato

Alea Ann F. Macam is a Doctorate Researcher at the University of Waikato. Her thesis investigates the conceptualisation of teacher professionalism in the Philippines as influenced by education policies. Her research explores the cultural, social, political, and economic factors that have influenced the ideation, development, and enactment of the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers policy to help teachers improve their teaching practice. Prior to pursuing her doctoral degree, she worked as a teacher professional development specialist in development programs for public education in the Philippines.