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Luistro: No one can stop K to 12 at this stage

MANILA, Philippines – For Education Secretary Armin Luistro, not even a Supreme Court (SC) petition or two can stop the K to 12 program, which is set to be fully implemented in 2016 as government rolls out two years of senior high school.

"No one can stop it at this stage," Luistro said in an interview on ANC's Beyond Politics, when asked for options should SC decide to stop the program.

"I am not a lawyer, but really, I don't see anything unconstitutional about it. We went through the whole process, it's now a law. In fact, I could be put in jail for not implementing a program that is according to the law," the secretary said in the interview aired Tuesday evening, May 19.

At least two petitions against K to 12 have been lodged before the High Court by educators and lawmakers opposed to the law, which adds two years to the basic education system of the Philippines.

The opposition mainly stems from the expected massive displacement of teaching and non-teaching staff in higher education institutions in 2016, as the largest batch of grade 11 students enters senior high school. (INFOGRAPHIC: 10 things about K to 12)

Latest estimates from the Commission on Higher Education showed 13,634 teaching staff and 11,456 non-teaching staff n HEIs may be displaced.

Critics also alleged the law "failed to comply with the 1987 Constitution" as far as consultations with stakeholders are concerned.

But Luistro on Tuesday said the problems critics are raising have to do with the law's implementation. 

"If it's about readiness, I don't think Supreme Court will rule about that," he added. (READ: Suspend K to 12? But PH ready for it – Luistro)

Now that Kindergarten and the curriculum for grades 1 to 4 and 7 to 10 are already in place, the secretary believes it might be an even bigger problem if the K to 12 program is put to a halt.

"We're building the classrooms now. What will we do with the 30,000 classroooms and the other classrooms that private schools have already built? I will ask those who will try to stop it to please solve the problem on how to address the investments that have already been put in."

By September 2015, the Department of Education (DepEd) will open online applications for teaching and non-teaching personnel needed in 2016. For teachers alone, the department will need to hire 30,000 to 41,000 every year for 2016 and 2017 because of senior high school.

Over 7,000 DepEd and non-DepEd schools will offer senior high school starting 2016, and Luistro assured there will be at least one senior high school in every city and municipality in the Philippines. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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