THE Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-to-12) educational program aims to produce globally competitive graduates, Chito Salazar, president of the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd), said.
Salazar stressed that the “[K-to-12] curriculum was designed to ensure the employability of Filipino students after completing the senior high school [Grades 11 and 12] curriculum or a college degree of any discipline.”
“People leave the country not because they are being trained to leave or work abroad, but because the jobs do not exist here,” Salazar said in an e-mail interview on Monday.
“This is an entirely different problem since we all know there aren’t enough jobs yet we wouldn’t be training very many. Also, does this mean we stop training engineers because there aren’t enough jobs?” Salazar asked.
Various groups opposing the K-to-12 education earlier said the additional two years in basic education may only worsen the country’s educational problems.
The militant youth group Anakbayan has claimed that the K-to-12 program was created to produce cheaper, more “exploitable” labor.
According to the group, the program will allow “semi-skilled” youths to enter the labor force as early as 18 years old, which will make the unemployment problem worse.
The new curriculum, Anakbayan said, will bring additional burden to parents and students who do not have funds for school expenses, which may further lead to higher drop-out rates.
The group also lambasted the government for its “abandonment of tertiary education,” stressing that the K-to-12 program will force students who finish senior high school to work instead of going to college.
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.