A GROUP of students on Friday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) anew to stop the full implementation of K to 12 Program.
League of Filipino Student National Chairman Charisse Bañez, who is a Stop K12 Alliance convener, said the start of K to 12 senior high-school enrollment was marked with a chaos, saying 700,000 to a million students might drop out of high-school education.
“If the DepEd cannot stop K to 12 after repeatedly being told to do so, then this agency should just shut down. We don’t need an education department that guarantees the profit of private schools and capitalist educators [through K to 12] at the expense of our right to free public education,” Bañez said.
“The school year for high school has ended last month, but junior high-school completers could not afford to enjoy their summer vacation, because they are still uncertain on how they can continue their high-school education. Right now, about a million students still do not know where to go,” she added.
She said the K to 12 Program is not designed for the improvement of access to quality education.
“There is a scarcity of free public schools offering senior high education, because K to 12 is designed to be dominated by private schools. In the National Capital Region alone, more than 78 percent of senior high schools are privately owned. Matriculation costs of these schools range from P25,000 to more than P100,000 per year,” Bañez said.
MEANWHILE, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Rep. Shewin Gatchalian of Valenzuela downplayed fears that the implementation of the K to 12 Program this coming school year will result in more high-school dropouts, especially those from private schools.
“It is incumbent on the DepEd to make sure that private-school students transferring to public senior high school will be accommodated and the opening of classes in June will not be chaotic, as some quarters fear that it will be,” Gatchalian added.
“Many private schools are now problematic because many students and even teachers in private schools are transferring to public schools for the senior high school program. This is because public-school teachers are given higher pay than those in private schools and receive numerous benefits from the government,” said Gatchalian, a member of House Committee on Basic Education and Culture.
Some 5,800 public schools and 1,866 private schools are set to offer the senior high school program this year with close to 1.3 million students expected to enroll before June. Of the 1.3 million students, around 878,000 students will be enrolling in public schools, while about 438,000 students will go to private schools.
Under the K to 12 Program, a student is required to undergo kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high and two years in senior high school.
On the other hand, the senior high school program, a student can choose one among four major “tracks”—academic, technical-vocational livelihood, arts and design and sports.
Under the academic track, there are four “strands”—Accountancy, Business and Management; Humanities and Social Sciences; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; and the General Academic strand. Those who have completed the Senior High School program after two years can go to college if they wish to continue their studies.