MANILA, Philippines - Private educational institutions welcomed the government's plan for a voucher system in giving financial assistance to incoming students in senior high school under the K to 12 program.
Senior high school will be fully implemented in school year 2016-2017.
The additional two years in high school will serve as specialization period for high school students in vocational skills, music, the arts or sports.
Jose Rizal University president Vicente Fabella, Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) vice president for the National Capital Region, said the voucher system will allow students and their families to choose better schools.
“We welcome it (voucher system for grades 11 and 12) because it allows the students to choose the schools they want,” he said.
The Department of Education (DepEd) said the government will give coupons directly to students to enable them to enroll in eligible private educational institutions or non-DepEd public schools under a full or partial tuition subsidy.
Under the new system, the DepEd is expected to provide a subsidy of P12,000 to P20,000, Fabella said.
Horacio Montefrio, Technical Vocational Schools Association of the Philippines (TVSA) vice president, called on the government to intensify the country’s internship program.
“The government should fund 70 percent of the apprenticeship programs to help a lot of technical vocational schools and higher educational institutions,” he said.
“It’s a win-win strategy. The government should give priority to apprenticeship.”
The German dual apprenticeship system has addressed youth unemployment in that country, Montefrio said.
Rizalino Rivera, education undersecretary for regional operations, said DepEd officials nationwide gathered in Baguio City last week for a workshop on implementing the senior high school program.
“As we approach 2016 we need to make sure that everyone in DepEd is on the same page,” he said.
Education Undersecretary for Programs and Projects Dina Ocampo said they are not “tech-vocalizing” the Philippine education system.
“We’re adding tech-voc to high school,” he said.
“We’re not graduating dressmakers and car mechanics, we’re developing lifelong learners with critical and technical skills.”
Ocampo urged private schools to establish senior high school programs to help develop their own locales.
DepEd regional offices should study economic data and look at the emerging industries in their respective areas in establishing courses for senior high school, she added.