OFWs face additional costs with K+12 program

by Jomel Anthony Gutierrez, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at May 23 2012 08:37 AM | Updated as of May 23 2012 04:37 PM

LONDON - Filipino parents in the United Kingdom, who are sending their children to school in the Philippines, are not all keen on the Department of Education’s (DepEd) new K+12 education program.

Some of them are criticizing the additional costs that they need to pay for their children’s extended years in school.

The government will implement the K+12 education program starting in June. The High School level will now consist of Grades 11 to 12 for 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018 academic school years. And 2 years will be added to Kindergarten before a child can be qualified to start Grade I.

Jailie Enguio, a care assistant in London with a daughter who is now a grade 5 pupil in Manila, asserted that it is not necessary to add years in the country’s educational system to improve the quality of education.

“We really don’t need to change the length of study in our schools,” she said.

"What we need to upgrade is the qualifications of the teachers and the quality of education in the Philippines,” she added.

She also emphasized that this new education program will add more costs for people like herself who send money back home to finance their children’s education.

“It’s a disadvantage for us parents who are OFWs because it’s additional tuition fee,” she said.

She is instead calling the Department of Education to focus more on adding rooms in the public schools and limit the number of students per class.

“The ratio of students to teachers should be minimized. For example, for one teacher, there should only be 30 students so everyone will be given attention,” she suggested.

For Elaine Bautista who has children in Grade 2 and Grade 5 in Iligan City, the additional years would result in widening the scope of study of Filipino students.

“More years in the school could provide a more comprehensive type of education in the country,” she said.

“Additional years could also make our students more competitive, “ she added.

But she also did not discount the fact that as an OFW in the UK, this is another financial burden for parents like her who are working abroad.

“As a parent who is working so hard here, money-wise, this new program has a disadvantage for us because we need to spend more than the usual,” she said.

Tom Valencia, a care home cook based in London, who has two school children in Cavite, approves of the timing of the government in implementing the K-12 education program.

“I’m in favor of the new program because now it’s the right time to upgrade the quality of education in our country,” he said.

“Additional years will help our children on deciding properly what profession they really want to pursue in the future,” he added.

Despite the varying opinions of UK-based Filipino parents on K-12, they all shared the same sentiments on what the government should focus on in improving the quality of education in the country.

Many of them are asking the government to organize more training for teachers and increase their salaries too. Others are also requesting to provide more facilities and up-to-date materials in the classroom that will surely help every Filipino student in acquiring knowledge and proper education.