More vocational labs needed to achieve K to 12 goal – Recto

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More vocational labs needed to achieve K to 12 goal – Recto


'This is one undiscussed weakness of K to 12, the lack of vocational labs,' says Senator Recto. 'Competency can only be developed through hands-on learning and practice.'

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s K to 12 program will not achieve one of its key objectives if it does not address the lack of technical-vocational laboratories in public high schools, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said on Monday, March 30.

Under the K to 12 program, which adds two years to the basic education system, Grade 11 and graduating Grade 12 students can choose a track to specialize on. One of these tracks is “technical-vocational livelihood.” (INFOGRAPHIC: 10 things about K to 12)

Recto pointed out that only 455 tech-voc labs will be built by the Department of Education (DepEd) in 2015 – not enough in the country’s 7,917 public high schools.

The lack of these labs “would only mean that the promised skills training, which is a major plank of the K to 12 curriculum, might not happen,” Recto said.

He added: “This is one undiscussed weakness of K to 12. The lack of vocational labs has not caught our attention. Although it is too big to ignore, it has remained under the radar.”

Recto said that the backlog should be addressed by 2016,  when the first batch of Grade 11 students enter school.

Hands-on learning 

Recto pointed out that the K to 12 program “was sold to the public on the promise that high school students enrolled on the tech-voc track will have an employable skill or trade upon graduation.”

Under the system, high school tech-voc graduates can obtain a National Certificate Level II certificate after passing the test to be conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

But Recto said that the tech-voc track “can only be pursued if there are laboratories, workshops, and equipment which students can use in honing their skills.”

He stressed that students should be given the opportunities to have hands-on learning.

“Competency can only be developed through hands-on learning and practice,” the senator said. “If the student wants to study dressmaking, then that student will have to operate an actual sewing machine. If he wants to learn cabinetmaking, he cannot do it without carpentry tools.”

To help DepEd solve this problem, Recto said the Senate has added P1 billion to the Basic Education Facilities (BEF) budget for 2015.

This amount can be added to the P1.137 billion for new tech-voc facilities, Recto said.

Under DepEd’s P53.9 billion BEF budget for 2015, P48.1 billion is allocated for new classrooms and structures, including tech-voc laboratories; P2.94 billion to repair existing facilities; P1.2 billion for new desks, furniture, fixtures; and P1.63 billion for classrooms built under partnerships between the government and the private sector. – Katerina Francisco/

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