Stoppage of the K-to-12 program would mean unemployment for the Filipino youth, according to congressional leaders.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of Quezon City, House Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list and Commission on Appointments’ Mel Senen Sarmiento of Western Samar over the weekend made the warning amid petitions against the K-to-12 implementation lodged before the Supreme Court.
The K-to-12 program calls for additional two years in high school (Grade 11 and Grade 12) and allows the students to choose from five contextualized subject tracks: academic, technical-vocational livelihood, arts/design and sports.
The strategy aims to make senior-high school graduates employable, considering that a lot of households could not afford a college education for their children because of rising cost.
Among those who filed a petition seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) were Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th and Magdalo party-list Representatives Gary Alejano and Ashley Acedilllo, all of whom are allies of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“I am confident that there will be no TRO [that will be issued]. We’re just one of the few countries without a K-to1-12 program which undermines the employability of our graduates, especially in jobs abroad,” Belmonte said in a text message.
“A stoppage would be counter-productive. It has its good purpose of empowering students to be technically competent and employment-ready, even if they do not proceed to college. Leaders, especially the petitioners, should look at the end game of K-to-12 because a TRO will be self-defeating,” Tugna said.
Sarmiento noted that it is baffling that certain sectors would seek to junk K-to-12 when its purpose is to increase productivity of the labor force.
“A TRO to stop the implementation of the K-to-12 is an injustice to our youth. Without [it], the quality of our education will slide to the worse, considering the fact that the Philippines is just one of the few countries with a short basic education,” he said.
“I just recently spoke at the graduation ceremonies of an STI campus, which has piloted a stand-alone senior high school. The graduates are at least 18 years old, competent and employable. Do we not want to produce youth who are labor force-ready after high school?” Sarmiento asked.
Records at the Education Department show that at least 25,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel will lose their jobs because of the full implementation of the K-to-12 program.
The job losses will result from reduction in college enrollment that may adversely affect operational viability of various higher educational institutions.
Of the 25,000, 13,634 are teaching personnel (2,794 permanent and 10,840 non-permanent) and 11,456 are non-teaching personnel (5,702 permanent and 5,754 non-permanent).