Philippine education should give no room to the government’s K to 12 program, partly because Filipinos lack extra money for it, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th..
“We must work together and let our voices be heard by PNoy [President Benigno Aquino 3rd] and the Supreme Court. Our goal is to make them realize that our country doesn’t need the K to 12 Program and the people cannot afford it,” Trillanes said over the weekend as he led the launch of the Coalition for K to 12 suspension.
Malacañang, however, stood firm on the government’s decision to continue nationwide implementation of the enhanced Basic Education Program or K to 12 Law.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Sunday pointed out that the program aims at enhancing competitiveness of the Filipino in the global economy.
Still, Trillanes said on Saturday, “It is more appropriate to call this the K MINUS 12 program because of problems besetting [it].”
The senator said the program lacks resources, tools, classrooms, teachers and time to prepare for its implementation, among other concerns.
Coalition head and Professor Rene Luis Tadle, during the launch, explained that they decided to form the group after they found out that the country’s education system is ill-prepared for the program.
The coalition, composed of members of Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities in the Philippines, faculty, non-teaching staff, parents, labor unions and faculty associations, said majority of the country’s high schools do not have enough classrooms and facilities to accommodate additional number of students as a result of the program.
“Even most parents are not aware of details of this program, including the financial burden it would bring them,” Tadle added.
In a manifesto, the coalition cited alleged failure of the government to afford protection to labor as among the grounds why the program should be suspended.
It said 56,771 out of 111,351 college teachers and 22,838 non-teaching staff will be at risk of losing their jobs as a result of a huge decline in the number of college enrollees starting academic year 2016-2017.
Under the K to 12 Program, two more years, referred to as senior high school, will be added to the current education system.
The new system covers kindergarten and 12 years of basic education: six years of primary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school.
During senior high school, students are expected to specialize in areas or career tracks they want to pursue, which include: Academic; Technical-Vocational-Livelihood; and Sports and Arts.
The Academic track includes three strands: Business, Accountancy and Management (BAM); Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (HESS); and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The coalition plans to file a petition for suspension of the program before the Supreme Court.
In defending the K to 12 Program, Coloma told government-run dzRB radio, “Perceived disadvantages brought about by its implementation are being addressed jointly by the Cabinet education cluster composed of DepEd [Department of Education], CHED [Commission on Higher Education], and Tesda [Technical Education Skills Development Authority].”
He said the program became national policy upon enactment of Republic Act 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which became effective on June 8, 2013.
WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE