Suspend K to 12? But PH ready for it – Luistro
MANILA, Philippines – Amid calls to suspend the K to 12 program, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said preparations must continue, or basic education reforms for the last 5 years will go to waste.
"Nakagastos na tayo, nakalimang taon na tayo na binubuno ‘to…Napakalayo na natin dun sa mga problema natin 3, 4, 5 years ago. Ready na ready na tayo," Luistro said after his department presented the K to 12 midterm report at the House of Representatives Wednesday, March 11.
(We've already spent on this, and we've been working on this for the last 5 years...We've already seen improvements from our problems from 3, 4, 5 years ago. We're very, very ready for this.)
With the signing of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, two years have been added to the basic education system of the Philippines. (INFOGRAPHIC: 10 things about K to 12)
The first batch of students under the program will enter senior high school’s grade 11 in 2016, and grade 12 in 2017.
Because of this, higher education institutions (HEIs) expect a drop in enrollment during these two years all the way to school year 2021-2022 when things are expected to normalize.
Based on Department of Education (DepEd) estimates, about 1.2 million to 1.6 million students will enroll in senior high school in 2016.
Critics are calling on the government to suspend K to 12, saying the country is not yet ready for it and the expected massive displacement of teaching and non-teaching staff in HEIs come 2016.
While displacements will likely happen, Luistro said the government is working on safety nets for workers in HEIs. (READ: College professors fear massive retrenchment due to K to 12)
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said that on a worst-case scenario, 38,071 teaching staff and 14,351 non-teaching staff will be displaced because of K to 12 in the next 5 years, starting 2016. (READ: Worst-case scenario: K to 12 may displace 78K workers)
But DepEd will hire 30,000 to 41,000 senior high school teachers every year for 2016 and 2017. The department will prioritize the displaced teaching and non-teaching staff during their hiring.
CHED is finalizing a draft bill that will seek a P29-billion ($654.72 million)* transition fund to mitigate the impact of K to 12 on the tertiary education sector.
'Let's do it together'
As for HEIs that will establish their own senior high school programs, Luistro is confident those schools will not let go of their best teachers.
"Ang ayaw kong mangyari, yung mga teacher diyan na magagaling ay ma-pirate ng ibang eskwelahan, kahit ng DepEd. Papangalagaan ko yung mga teacher na yan at hahanap at hahanap ako ng paraan para either magka-scholarship sila o di kaya magkaroon sila ng another position para during the transition, hind sila mawala," he added.
(What I don't want to happen is for the good teachers to be pirated by other schools, even DepEd. If I were the school, I'd take care of that teacher, and I would find a way so that they can get scholarships or get another position so I don't lose them during the transition.)
To date, 5,020 existing DepEd high schools will offer senior high school, while 274 private schools already have permits to offer the program. About 196 proposed stand-alone senior high schools are also on the way. (READ: What senior high school tracks fit your locality?)
Instead of calling for K to 12’s suspension, Luistro asked critics for support.
"Maraming puwedeng baguhin [at] i-improve, bukas na bukas kami diyan. Pero sana sabay tayo, sabay sa batikos, sabay yung tulong na 'Kaya mo yan,'" he added.
(There are many things we can change and improve, we're open to that. But let's do it together. Let's criticize together, and let's help each other say 'You can do it.') – Rappler.com
*US$1 = P44.29