MANILA, Philippines – Amid calls to suspend K to 12, the chairperson of the Senate committee on education, arts, and culture defended the program as an education reform that “has to happen” but at the right time.
Senator Pia Cayetano made the statement in an interview on Tuesday, March 24, as she admitted receiving information on “gaps” in the major education reform program that raises questions about its target implementation date.
Asked about her position on the program, Cayetano said: “Because I believe it has to happen, it’s just a question of kailan dapat matuloy itong K to 12….Ang tanong ko lang ay handa na nga ba tayo na gawin yon? Kasi kung hindi, huwag naman nating sayangin yung oras ng mga estudyante.”
(Because I believe it has to happen, it’s just a question of when K to 12 should push through….My only question is this: Are we ready to implement K to 12? Because if not, let’s not waste the students’ time.)
Cayetano cited “gaps” in the K to 12 program that has come to her attention, such as “inadequate budget and time to really roll it out properly” that may hinder its proper implementation.
“The question we must ask ourselves: In programs of this magnitude, does it help us to delay? Or do we have to bite the bullet and roll it out and allow the problems to surface and clean it up in the process?” she said.
With the signing of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, two years have been added to the basic education system of the Philippines. The first batch of students under the program will enter senior high school’s grade 11 in 2016, and grade 12 in 2017. (INFOGRAPHIC: 10 things about K to 12)
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.
This will affect workers in HEIs, as worst-case scenario estimates on displacements are as high as 38,071 teaching staff and 14,351 non-teaching staff. (READ: Suspend K to 12? But PH ready for it – Luistro)
Can Congress suspend K to 12?
The impact of the program on school employees has generated much concern in the education sector, especially in the tertiary level. To date, at least one petition has been filed before the Supreme Court to stop the full implementation of the K to 12 program. (READ: Senators ask: Are colleges ready for K to 12?)
The High Court on Tuesday directed the Department of Education (DepEd) to comment on the petition filed by the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (Cotescup).
On suspension calls, Cayetano said lawmakers have to review whether Congress has the power to suspend the program, although “Congress can always repeal a law.”
At the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr earlier said, “No suspension will come from us.”
When asked, Cayetano said there is still time to implement the program, set for June 2016.
She said DepEd will update senators on the country’s preparedness for K to 12 by May. – Rappler.com