Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro said on Wednesday that the government is ready to implement the K-to-12 program by June 2016.
Luistro gave the assurance at a hearing in Congress on the mandatory review and midterm report of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) K-to-12 program.
The K-to-12 program adds two years in high school (Grade 11 and Grade 12) and allows the students to choose from a set of contextualized subject tracks: academic, technical-vocational livelihood, arts/design and sports.
The strategy aims to make all senior high school graduates employable, considering that a lot of households could not afford to send their children to college, which is getting more expensive every year.
“Para tayong nagtatayo ng bahay. Ang kulang na lang ay ‘yung bubong. Para tayong tumatakbo sa marathon. Nakikita ko na ang finish lie.
Nakagastos na tayo ng limang taon. Binuno na natin ito. [What we are doing is like building a house. The roof is the only thing lacking. It’s like we are running in a marathon. I already see the finish line. We have spent five years for this. We have worked for it]. We are very much ready,” Luistro told reporters.
“I can prove that we have come a long way from four to five years ago. I don’t doubt that,” Luistro added.
The K-to-12 program is expected to displace 39,000 college teachers because there will be no freshmen college students from 2016 to 2018. But Luistro said the DepEd, which needs 30,000 more teachers for the additional Senior High School for the first year of K-to-12 implementation, can employ the displaced teachers.
Luistro, however, said that public and private universities are unlikely to let go of their best college professors because these universities will also be establishing Senior High Schools too.
They would eventually need more faculty members when the first batch of K-to-12 graduates finally go to college in June 2018, he said.
“We’ll need 30,000 teachers on the first year of K-to-12 alone, and 39,000 for five years. If we are talking about jobs here, DepEd will need more than those who fear that they will be displaced. At kung magagaling na teachers ’yan, at ako’y galing sa pribadong pamantasan, ang ayaw kong mangyari ay ’yung mga teacher na nandiyan ay mapirata ng ibang eskwelahan, kahit DepEd. Aalagaan ko ang mga teachers na ’yan at hahanap at hahanap ako ng paraan para magkaroon sila ng scholarship at posisyon para hindi sila mawala sa panahon ng transition [If these teachers are of high caliber, the universities would surely find ways to retain them],” Luistro, the former president and chancellor of De La Salle University-Taft, said.
He added that DepEd would need 5,000 principals for its Senior High Schools.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. shared Luistro’s sentiments that the government cannot afford to scrap the K-to-12 program based on apprehensions.
“I don’t think that anybody will be able to say that they are 100 percent ready, but they [DepEd] are substantially ready. They are up to the job and they should be. There will be teething problems, but we will eventually have to address these problems. Otherwise, we will be a country supplying menial laborers,” Belmonte said.
Earlier, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th has asked the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the K-to-12 program because the government is not yet ready to run it on full steam.
“Difficult or not, we have to do it. There is absolutely no suspension that will come from us. Based on the discussion, they are on the right track. I don’t believe the Supreme Court petition will gain traction,” Belmonte said.