• Thousands of teachers may lose their jobs

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    Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea) members during the Cocopea chairmanship turnover ceremony held at the EDSA, Shangri-La. PHOTO BY ALEXIS CORPUZ

    THOUSANDS of college teachers face the prospects of losing their jobs once the new K-to-12 curriculum has rolled out by 2016.

    Moving heaven and earth in a bid to ease such disastrous impact of the K-to-12 scheme, Dr. Patricia Bustos-Lagunda, the new chairman of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea), on Tuesday said the associations is actively participating in the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Enhanced Basic Education Act to address challenges posed by the K-to-12 curriculum and its impact in private education.

    Bustos-Lagunda said that the Cocopea has voluntarily participated in the drafting of the IRR for K-to-12 to ease the impact of labor implications, in which thousands of faculties from the country’s private higher education institutions are at high risk of losing their jobs once the new curriculum has been fully implemented in 2016.

    “Perhaps for now, our immediate concern lies in the K-to-12 implementation as it affects the entire private education. We foresee many problems in the implementation of the K-to-12 program especially in the labor front with the impending separation from schools, colleges and universities of a number of teachers and non-teaching complements,” Bustos-Lagunda told The Manila Times.

    “A significant number of our schools especially higher education institutions will be adversely affected by the continued decrease in enrolment come school year 2016-2017 and five to six years onwards, and consequently reduced subjects to teach by college faculty. It is our hope that the final IRR will be something that balances the interests of all education stakeholders,” she added.

    Bustos-Lagunda also noted that agencies handling education services such as Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority should come up with an administrative order regarding labor movement by 2016.

    “We fear that a lot of our teachers will be displaced once the K-to-12 program has been fully implemented. Even the non-teaching complements might be also affected. We don’t know yet,” she said, adding that each school has individually doing its own projection to simulate possible scenarios in the 2016.

    Despite the anticipated impact of the K-to-12 education, Bustos-Lagunda said the Cocopea is fully supporting it, stressing that the new curriculum in the basic education is an imperative that we have to bring about.

    “The adoption of the K-to-12 program bodes well for the future of education in the Philippines as it brings us up to par with the rest of the world. The program is important especially with the country’s impending integration with the larger Asean community to start by latter part of 2015,” she said.

    “A lot of the higher education institutions are affected because we do not have anymore first year and second year high school students for the next five years. Despite loss on enrolment, we support the Department of Education in the implementation of the K-to-12 program because this is what we really need. No need to negotiate on that,” Bustos-Lagunda added.

    The Cocopea president, however, urged the government to consider the sustainability in survival of the higher education institutions and some private schools upon their transition to K-to-12 program.

    “We are hoping that the government can find long-term solution for this concern so we can give a portion in what we called market-sharing,” she said.

    Bustos-Lagunda, also the president of Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) and executive vice president of Baliuag University, was inducted as the new Cocopea president during a formal turnover ceremony of chairmanship on Tuesday at EDSA Shangrila Hotel in Mandaluyong City. She replaced Dr. Jose Paulo Campos, who is also the president of Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (Pap-scu) and president of Emilio Aguinaldo College, as the new chairman of the Cocopea.

    Cocopea is one of the country’s largest umbrella organizations of private schools. It is made up of five educational associations, which include the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities; the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines; the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities; the Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities; and the Technical-Vocational School Associations of the Philippines.

    Education sectors, stakeholders, and other agencies involved have begun drafting the IRR since June this year. Under the law, drafting of the IRR should take place within the period of 90 days.

    The K-to-12 program, which adds two more years of senior high school among other enhancements, aims to improve the quality of education to keep up with international standards.

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