THE Department of Education (DepEd) officially rolled out its Senior High School program amid protests and claims that the scheme forced a million students to drop out.
Secretary Armin Luistro described Monday’s opening of classes as “one of the best” although he admitted that there were problems encountered.
“This year is the best school opening thus far. If there are any other reported problems, agad nating sosolusyunan yan [we will immediately resolve them],” Luistro said after visiting some schools in Metro Manila. He was accompanied by his successor, Leonor Briones.
Luistro said they received complaints of school congestion in some areas and the failure of some students to enrol.
“Definitely [our]enrolees [in]Grade 11 will be much more than half of the historical numbers that we are seeing when we had fourth year high school. For the first time in history, we have a national database of enroled number of students both public and private,” he added.
Based on DepEd’s records, more than 600,000 Grade 11 students enroled in public schools.
Luistro estimated that at least 400,000 more will be enroled in private schools.
He said around 400,000 Grade 10 pupils will not enrol in Grade 11.
Senior High School students can choose from four programs: Accountancy, Business and Management, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and General Academic; Sports; Arts and Design; and various specializations under the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood (TVL) track.
A student takes fifteen core subjects, seven applied track subjects and nine specialized track subjects.
But the League of Filipino Students (LFS) said the K-to-12 program “worsened the decade-old woes of the education system.”
“They insist that this is the best school opening when in reality, around a million students were forced to drop out,” LFS spokesman JP Rosos said.
“DepEd has gone delusional when they insisted that this is the best school opening and everything is falling into place. The harsh reality is far from the fictions they conjured,” Rosos added.
He said the opening of classes revealed some “chaos” because thousands of students were not able to enrol in Grade 11.
“Luistro is trying to hide the fact by averting the public eyes to reality. Students did not enrol in public senior high schools not because they are capable to go to private schools.
They dropped out of schooling because of the additional financial burden that the additional two years entail,” Rosos explained.
“It is unforgiveable to continue implementing this anti-student, anti-people program. The horrors of K-to-12 must end. Immediately, we should stop the implementation of the program. We demand our government to grant all Grade 10 completers their high-school graduate status. They should not be forced to take the irrational additional two years in high school,” he said.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) held a protest on Monday to demand the junking of the K-to-12 program.
ACT Rep. Antonio Tinio joined the protest rally along Recto Avenue in Manila to dramatize the group’s opposition to the program.