As of now all High Schools have already finished their â€œMoving Up Ceremonyâ€ instead of High School Graduation Ceremony.
On June 2016, the Grade 10 (Four Year) students are required to undergo the two-year Senior High School before they will qualify to enroll in college.
In the controversy whether it will be two-year Junior College or two-year Senior High School that will be offered, I was in favor of the Junior College.
In Senior High School (SHS), after undergoing two more years of schooling, you are still a High School Graduate.Â In Junior College (JC), after graduation, you are already in the college level.
Rationale for 2 More Years
Generally when a student graduates in High School he or she is still sixteen (16) years old.Â He is not yet employable because our age of majority is 18 years old.
It is rationalized that the gap of two (2) years will be filled-up with skills training so that when the student will graduate he has already a particular skill aside from his academic preparation.
Our leaders in education and legislators decided that the two-years will be added in High School for the reason that our Constitution provides that high school or secondary education is free.
In the beginning the TESDA offered that they will be in charge of the Senior High School in order to provide vocational skills to the students.Â This concept was rejected because by law only the Department of Education (DepEd) is in charge of education.
It is now decided that the SHS will be offered in â€œstrandsâ€.Â There is the ABM strand for those who plan to enroll in college in accountancy, business, or management.Â There is the STEM strand for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.Â There is also the GAS or general academic strand.Â Other schools can offer their own strands with the approval of DepEd.
You will notice that the main strands are all preparations for college and the vocational skills are absent, especially the GAS (General Academic Strand), which most of the Public and Private High Schools are offering.
The concept of having employable skills after graduation is not really addressed.Â If you will offer courses with employable skills, your teachers must be retrained and certified by TESDA, and most high school teachers are unwilling to undergo such training.Â What for?Â They are already regular high school teachers and being TESDA accredited is not part of the requirement for employment.
After World War II there was a dearth of college graduates.Â To fast track the availability of college graduates a 2-year Junior College was implemented.
The concentration of the Junior College was employable skills training.Â In the college of education, there was the Elementary Teachers Certificate (ETC).Â They were qualified to teach in the elementary grades.
In engineering there was the 2-year Associate in Surveying.Â They were qualified to take the Board Examination for Private Land Surveyors.
In the Commerce Department there was the Secretarial and Vocational courses and employable as bookkeepers, secretaries, etc.
In the Liberal Arts, there was the Associate in Arts.Â It was approved as Pre-Law or Pre-Medicine courses.Â It was also enough to become Commissioned Officers in the Armed Forces after undergoing training.
Which is More Employable?
If you are an employer, which will you hire, a Senior High School graduate or a Junior College graduate?
A Senior High School graduate of the ABM Strand may know some bookkeeping but an Associate in Secretarial Science in Junior College is more specialized.
If your business is in engineering, which will you hire, a STEM graduate of the SHS, or a graduate in Diploma in Applied Technology with specialized field in engineering. [Note: DAT is still offered at the University of Bohol.]
Cost of Education
At first it seemed that the Senior High School concept was more economical to the government.Â It was soon found out that it was so expensive because the Public High Schools are not ready.Â Trillions of pesos are needed to construct more classrooms, provide equipments, and hire new teachers.
Now the voucher system is being planned.Â Every public high school finisher of the Grade 10 who desires to study in a private high school will be given a voucher to pay his expenses in a private high school.Â This is an extension of the present form of GASPTE (Government Assistance for Private School and Teachers Education).
Now it realized that it should have been cheaper if the K-12 Law provided for a Junior College and have the voucher system of payment.
The existing colleges can easily provide for a Junior College with the desired competencies to be offered.Â The high school graduates can choose which Junior College to enroll in and present their vouchers.Â There would have been no problems to be encountered by the colleges.Â Today the colleges are saddled with the problem of no first year college enrolment.
Today, everything is still in chaos, especially in large cities and high level colleges and universities.Â The vouchers given by the government are not enough to pay for tuitions in the high-end colleges and universities.
Most of the Grade 10 finishers are from the public high schools but most of them lack the classrooms and facilities.Â Will they have classes under the mango tree?
In large cities like Manila, they have no mango trees, where will the students go?Â In Bohol the DepEd is agog in preparations but in Cebu the attitude is, wait and see.Â They leave to the government how to solve the multifarious problems.Â In the first place it is the government itself who caused the problems. (By Jes B. Tirol)