They were the “guinea pigs” of the biggest program to shake the country’s education system.
But to these “pioneers,” finishing senior high school under the K-to-12 program improved their chances for a better life.
“Malaki po talaga ‘yung tulong [ng Senior High School program]sa amin kasi nakapagsimula po kami ng bago…Nakagawa po kami ng paraan para makatulong sa pamilya namin. Nagpapasalamat po akong marami kasi napasimulan ko na din po ‘yung pangarap ko 9It has really been of great help. We were given a chance to help our families. I am thankful because now I am starting to realize my dream),” Karen Castillo said.
Castillo was one of the members of the pilot class at the Don Alejandro Roces Sr. Science and Technology’s Senior High School Program. Since 2012, she took courses in Food and Beverage, Bread and Pastry, Bartending and Front Office in Grades 11 and 12. By 2014, she was equipped to work.
Now, she is employed in a restaurant in Quezon City. She hopes to save enough to get a college diploma.
“Because of the Senior High School program, I was able to work. Now I can pursue my dream to finish a four-year course,” Castillo said.
Castillo is just one of many students who benefitted from the pilot implementation of the Senior High School program in several schools across the Philippines.
Quezon City Councilor Alyson Rae Medalla, Chairperson of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology, said that the city government has taken steps to “smoothen” the K-to-12 transition period.
The city government has put up Career Advocacy Units in schools to help the students determine what path to take under the Senior High School program.
Also a graduate of the pilot class of Don Alejandro Roces Sr. Science and Technology is Jomar Villas, who now works in a resto bar in Quezon City where he trained. He was hired immediately after his graduation.
Villas said his background in Food and Beverage, Bartending, Bread and Pastry, and Front Office helped him gain equal footing with the rest of his older co-workers.
‘I can now help my parents. They cannot send me to college, but because of the Senior High School Program, I am now able to help my family,” he said.
Another graduate, Judy Anne Revallente, echoed the same sentiments.
Revallante said her training on the fundamental art of effective communication was her ticket to employment.
The enhanced K-to-12 curriculum provides students advance skills on Information, Media and Technology; Learning and Innovation; Communication and Life and Career.
“I want to go to college but I will work first so that I can save,” Revallente said.
Mary Grace Andrade, another graduate, said she is now earning P20,000 after she was hired as a financial adviser.
She also hopes to get a college degree.
“Sa ating gobyerno…may pag-asa pa rin po ang Pilipinas. Tulung-tulong lang po tayong bumangon. Depende pa rin po sa tao‘yun. Kahit gaano kaganda ang ekonomiya natin, kahit gaano kaganda ang bansa natin, kung ikaw mismo hindi ka naniniwala na kaya natin, wala. Kaya tulung-tulong tayo,” Andrade said.