K to 12 seen to boost employment – DepEd

Education secretary Armin Luistro says that future products of K to 12 would be ready for employment

MANILA, Philippines – With the K to 12 bill already advancing in Congress, Education Secretary Armin Luistro told business managers that high school graduates will soon be ready to be employed in various industries.

In a speech before industry leaders on Wednesday, October 24, Luistro said that they won’t have to look for college graduates when hiring.

“Part of the program is the challenge that high school graduates should be able to either start their own small business, or be accepted in industries for a decent job,” Luistro said.

Under the K to 12 program, students have to undergo 12 years of elementary and secondary education. It follows the K-6-4-2 Model, where students are required to undergo kindergarten, 6 years in elementary (grades 1 to 6), 4 years in junior high school (grades 7 to 10), and two years in senior high school (grades 11 to 12).

With two years added in the current 10-year basic education system, the program is seen to help the Filipino youth become more knowledgable and competitive worldwide.

“There is only less than 25% of high school graduates who actually attempt to go to college. The K to 12 program would like to ensure that even if they don’t choose to go to college, they finish studying what is basic,” Luistro said.

The implementation of the program will be held in stages.

It started this school year with the introduction of a revitalized curriculum to incoming grade 1 and 7 students in public schools. The pioneer students of this program are expected to graduate in 2025.

By this time, Luistro said, human resources departments would no longer ask for a college degree as a minimum requirement for employment.

“I want to add that many of our current corporations in the Philippines still require a college degree while offering a job that really only requires middle-level technical skills,” he said.

Legislation

The program was launched this school year despite the absence of an enabling law. House Bill 6643, which will put the program into law, has yet to be approved.

But Luistro is confident about the status of the bill. It was passed on 2nd reading on October 18, and is a step away from final approval in the House. It was only on October 10 that the bill was passed on 1st reading.

The Senate version of the bill was already sponsored this month.

“We’re almost there. We can expect a K to 12 Christmas this 2012,” Luistro said.

Urgent need

Despite opposition from some lawmakers, Luistro insisted that the country needs the program.

“The K to 12 program is actually forward-looking. While we’re being criticized for trying to push for it even if we’re not prepared, we don’t have the luxury of time,” he said.

He said that the program will help in reforming the educational system in time for the planned integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 2015.

“We have to provide necessary educational system that will allow our students and our professors to actually integrate with the rest of the Asean,” he said.

Party-list legislators, however, claim that the Department of Education (DepEd) is not yet ready for the passage of the K to 12 law since the agency stillhas to address the backlog in school facilities and supplies.

The department admitted there is an estimated classroom backlog of 66,800 in public schools, and a backlog of 124,286 school toilets for the school year 2012-2013.

But Luistro said the department is aiming for a zero deficit by 2013. – Rappler.com

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