MANILA - Incoming Education Secretary Leonor Briones announced Wednesday that she will prioritize the expansion of alternative learning system (ALS) to provide equal opportunities for those who will not be covered by the K to 12 program.
Briones explained that "not all those who deserve to be educated" can be covered by the benefits of the K to 12 program, which added two years to country's 10-year basic education cycle.
"For example, K-12 covers schoolchildren, but how about the 25-year-old farmer who's only Grade 4, or the tricycle driver who's 50 years old?" she told reporters in Davao City.
The ALS is a parallel learning system that provides school dropouts with access to complete basic education in a mode that fits their distinct situations and needs.
Briones said more funds should be allocated to the ALS in order to aid learners outside the formal education system.
"Right now, may ALS tayo but it is not funded enough. Maliit lang siyang program. Dapat palakihin iyan para sa maiiwan," Briones said.
"Ang issue kasi sa education at K-12, siguradong may maiiiwan -- iyung hindi mag-qualify sa senior highschool at saka iyung mga hindi mapasama talaga, iyung mga may edad na. Hindi naman sila nag-aaral so 'di sila mapapasama doon," she added. "They will not benefit from the training of K-12 so you have to have an equally or nearly equal big-allocation program, 'yung alternative learning system."
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BENEFITS OF K-12
Briones also highlighted the benefits of the K-12 program.
She said Filipino job seekers are often given lower positions because their 10 years of basic education does not satisfy global educational standards.
"Compared sa mga bata sa ibang bansa, kulang talaga tayo ng dalawang taon. Iyung ating engineers na napupunta sa abroad, bibilangin nila iyung years ng background, mababa ang position na ibinibigay.
"Ang mga dentist, ginagawang dental aide; ang mga doktor, ginagawang hospital aide kasi nga kulang ang years ng pag-aaral nila," she said.
Briones also said that graduates of K-12 are already eligible to join the work force, courtesy of the technical-vocational courses offered as electives in Grades 11 and 12.
"If you have two additional years of training and technical work, talong-talo mo iyung mga existing na karpintero ngayon, mga may trabahong teknikal. So, the possibility of jobs here and abroad, napakataas," she said.
She also implemented that the first years of implementing the program will be difficult, but she also claimed that this will pay off.
"There will be six years of difficulty during which universities will be suffering, parents will be suffering... But at the end of six years, those who graduate from high school will have better opportunities to get good jobs, and they can compete abroad," she said.
"Those who go abroad to study, 'di na sila magba-back study. Iyung mga doktor natin, nurse, hindi na lalait-laitin."
-- With a report from Roxanne Arevalo, ABS-CBN News Northern Mindanao