PRIVATE schools on Thursday turned down a proposal of Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th to suspend implementation of the government’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-to-12) basic education program.
Trillanes earlier urged the government to defer the implementation of the K-to-12 program, citing problems that continue to hound the country’s education system such as lack of classrooms and school materials, high student-teacher ratio and low salary of teachers.
The Senator also cited the government’s alleged “unpreparedness” to absorb college professors and employees who will be displaced once the program commences in 2016.
But Education lawyer Joseph Noel Estrada said private higher educational institutions are opposed to the proposal to delay the implementation of K-to-12 program because the government and some private schools have spent a lot of time and effort to prepare the nationwide implementation of the so-called milestone in Philippine education.
Estrada, also the legal counsel of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea), said he does not subscribe to the proposal to suspend the K-to-12 implementation because that is “counterproductive” for the Philippines.
Cocopea is one of the country’s largest umbrella organizations of private schools. It is composed of five members: Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities; Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines; Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities; Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities; and Technical-Vocational School Associations.
“It [suspension of implementation]doesn’t resolve the issues and problems raised hounding Philippine education. It simply delays it,” he added.
Estrada said there is no compelling reason to stop or suspend the K-to-12 program, especially with the Asean Economic Integration looming in 2015.
“I do not know that will be legally possible. The Senate cannot simply order the suspension of the law. It can propose a bill that amends, alters or repeals the law.
But it cannot suspend the law unless they seek intervention of the Supreme Court to declare the K-to-12 law illegal or unconstitutional,” he pointed out.
Under the K-to-12 reform, a student will be required to undergo kindergarten, six years of primary education (Grades 1-6), four years of junior high school (Grades 7-10) and two years of senior high school (Grades 11-12).
The new education system aims to improve the quality of basic education and adequately prepare high school graduates for college education, work or employment, making them globally competitive.