K-to-12 IRR signed today

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THE implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, a landmark piece of legislation that institutionalizes 12 years of basic education otherwise known as the Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-to-12) program, will be signed today.

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd earlier signed Republic Act 10533 to usher in the K-to-12 education consisting of at least one year in kindergarten, six years in elementary, four years in junior high school and two years in senior high school.

The K-to-12 IRR will be signed by Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Commission on Higher Education chairman Patricia Licuanan and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) director general Joel Villanueva at the Don Alejandro Roces National High School in Quezon City.

Under the proposed IRR, DepEd shall prioritize giving assistance through the Expanded Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education Act (E-GASTPE) or Republic Act 8545 to incoming senior high school students (Grade 11 and 12) from public schools, although it can also cover even graduates from private junior high schools.

DepEd may also extend financial assistance through a voucher system issued directly to the student so he or she can enroll in any eligible private or non-DepEd school of his or her choice under a full or partial tuition subsidy; through the Education Service Contracting (ESC) where the government enters into contractual arrangements with eligible private and non-DepEd schools to subsidize in whole or in part the tuition and other fees of qualified students; through management contracts where the government enters into contractual arrangements with private and non-DepEd schools to manage the day-to-day operations of public schools; through forms of assistance under the “Adopt-a-School Program” or Republic Act 8525; or through other forms of financial arrangements under the principles of public-private partnership (PPP).

The IRR will give DepEd several options to enter into financing arrangements with private schools and state and local colleges and universities to absorb public senior high school students.

Through such arrangements, DepEd is hoping it would not need to build more classrooms and hire more teachers.

Meanwhile, an association of private schools welcomed the signing of the IRR.

“Fapsa is jubilant that after a long while we finally have the IRR signed into a law by the tripocal agencies. We believe this is the guidelines we need to really implement the K-to-2 program. We are also happy for being part of the consultations,” said Eleazardo Kasilag, president of the Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (Fapsa).

But the Fapsa head doubted that the implementation of senior high school (Grade 11 and 12) will be rolled out smoothly.

“We are all for it however, we can just keep our fingers crossed since senior high school is not fully explained here and leave some doubts as far as the private school curriculum is concerned. This is a crossroad for us in the private schools. Shall we have senior high school put up or just remain in the junior high operation,” Kasilag stressed.

With the new curriculum, Kasilag said Fapsa-member schools will now have two competitors [the public schools because it is free and the CHEd and Tesda].

“Would we have enough students for grades 11 and 12 or the CHEd or Tesda shall just absorb our college bound and tech voc bound students?” Kasilag asked. “If the tertiary shall compete with basic private schools, anong laban namin sa kanila? They have the competencies, the experience and the facilities.”

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