Parents, mostly, made a last-ditch effort to call on the Department of Education to listen to their woes against the implementation of K-12 Basic Education Program.
Enrolment for the school year 2016-2017 has already started, yet most parents aired their concerns against the K-12 program in yesterdayâ€™s episode of the top-rated DYRD Inyong Alagad public affairs program.
Under the K-12 program, kindergarten is already required as pre-requisite for entering Grade 1, then primary education is from Grade 1 to Grade 6. The usual four years in high school is now considered junior high school; and to graduate high school, the student has to spend two more years for senior high school.
DepEd started implementing the K-12 program in school year 2012-2013 covering Grade 1 and Grade 7 enrollees who will be in Grade 5 and in Grade 11 this school year, respectively.
By 2018, DepEd will graduate the first batch of K-12 Grade 6 (for primary education) and Grade 12 (for high school).
However, forÂ majority of the radio survey respondents airing their woes yesterday, the additional years mean more expenses not only in terms of tuition fees but also on the board and lodging depending on the curriculum track the children choose,
Getting into details on the burden it poses, a parent cited that despite government subsidy of P17,500 a year for those who will transfer to private schools, senior high school remains expensive as tuition fees stand at P33,000 per semester at the Holy Name University for example.
Most parents responding to the radio survey questioned the wisdom in making it a necessity to invest for additional number of years in school as there had been many curriculum changes over the years such as the integration of mother tongue in elementary school, the restructuring of Home Economics intoÂ Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE).
Even then, they said workers continued to be competitive abroad without the K-12 program in place.
Other respondents cited the lack of assurance for employment after K-12 within or outside the country.
They said the government should probably put more premium on the capability of teachers if the goal is quality education.
On the other hand, some survey responders find it advantageous for students who could complete the K-12 program to land a job while going to college at same time.
Those who favor the K-12 program believe that the basic education opens opportunities for K-12 graduates to immediately join the workforce and lessen the unemployment rate of the country with the option to enroll to higher level college education.
Some survey respondents cited the US experience with K-12 program where graduates have been well-equipped to be in the labor force, but expressed apprehension as to the availability of jobs in the current setting.
Others contested this mindset questioning the Philippines’ readiness to compete with situations in countries such as the US.
In the national scene,Â Kabataan party-list called on presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte â€œto hold a dialogue with youth leaders to discuss K-12 and tuition fee increasesâ€.
DEPED READY FOR SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Provincial Schools Divisions Superintendent Wilfreda Bongalos, yesterday told DYRD Inyong Alagad that the DepEd is ready for the opening of classes on June 13.
Bongalos said the Deped had been conducting assessment of preparedness for Senior High School in the past two weeks.
She also reported that most classrooms constructed by DepEd to meet the schoolchildren population are already completed, whileÂ interim classrooms such as libraries and other vacant classrooms are being prepared for utilization for those which buildings may not be completed in time.
The Human Resource Department is also arranging the placement of teachers.
At least 471 slots have been allotted for teachers for senior high school, while 15 DOST scholars also supporting senior high school teaching.
According to Bongalos, senior high school inÂ public schools remains free while aÂ voucher system for subsidy of P17,500 a year has been put up as government support for public school students transferring to private schools.
In addition, there are aboutÂ 129 public Senior High Schools across the province.
Bongalos also said that in preparation for the opening of the school year, DepEd started with early registration in January yet for new entrants and enrollment for senior High School began on May 2.
DepEd now is gearing up for the Brigada Eskwela slated on May 30-June 4.(with reports from Leah Marchil Sumampong)