MANILA - With their debts nearing the P300-billion mark, public school teachers need to get a better understanding of their finances, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.
Briones said there was "nothing insulting" about getting help in financial literacy. Citing a government study, she said public school teachers owe P123 billion to the the Government Service Insurance System and up P170 billion to P178 billion to private institutions.
"There is nothing insulting in not knowing everything, they may know history, mathematics but the matter of money is another kind of literacy in itself, we are not insulting them," Briones told ANC's On the Money.
In 2016, 26,000 teachers did not receive any retirement benefits due to outstanding loans, Briones said, adding the DepEd was taking steps to help teachers fight indebtedness.
Financial planner Efren Cruz said he was surprised that many teachers did not know how much they owed.
"They go through that kasi every year they have to submit their SALN, that goes back to financial literacy, SALN should not be used just for compliance but an effective tool for financial literacy," Cruz said.
A SALN is a Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
Aside from financial mentoring, Cruz recommends auto-deduction of savings from teachers' salary to encourage them to save.