The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday was asked to stop and junk the government’s K-to-12 education program.
A group of petitioners held a rally in front of the High Court in Manila before formally filing their petition for certiorari, urging the tribunal to halt the program.
The Suspend K-to-12 Alliance asked the SC to nullify Republic Act (RA) 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, as well as its Implementing Rules and Guidelines and Joint Guidelines.
It also asked the High Court to declare void Department of Education Memorandum 2, Series of 2015, which was issued for implementation of RA 10533.
The K-to-12 program mandates one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary school,
four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.
Under the law, it shall be fully implemented in 2016.
The SC was also asked to immediately issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction to stop the program.
The group pointed out that the law is illegal and unconstitutional because it poses a burden to struggling Filipino families.
“Considering that more than 20 million Filipinos are poor, adding two more years to basic education will just be an added burden for many families. Based on a statement of the [Department of Education], 40 percent of senior high school students will be admitted to private schools because of the incapacity of public schools to serve them, further making education a business rather than a right and is bound to serve only those who are capacitated,” it said.
“The government through the years has never allocated more than 4 percent of our GDP [gross domestic product]for education, despite the fact that the global standard is at least 6 percent. Predictably, K-to-12 will just worsen the shortages felt right now in our 10-year basic education program due to insufficiency of fund allocations,” the group added.
It said the government is not ready to effect the basic education program because of insufficiency of classrooms, facilities, instructional materials and teaching and non-teaching personnel.
The petitioners argued that the K-to-12 program will cost education workers their jobs.
“RA 10533 fails to provide for ‘full protection to labor and promotion of full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all,’ which is mandated in Article XIII, Section 3, of the 1987 Constitution. The Constitution promotes work creation or protection and not work displacement or loss. In the implementation of this law, education workers face the risk of early separation, forced retirement, constructive dismissal, diminution of salaries and benefits, labor contractualization and a general threat to self-organization,” they said.
Instead of adding more years to basic education, according to them, the government must focus on quality of education and provide necessary infrastructure and instructional and personnel support to the education sector.