MANILA, Philippines - The education department has formally launched its K+12 program, which adds 2 years to basic education in the country.
This means that aside from kindergarten, 6 years of elementary, and 4 years of high school, students will have to undergo an additional 2 years of study in senior high school.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro says the additional 2 years will help students decide what course they will take in college.
It will also help high school graduates get jobs since in senior high school, students will be given the chance to specialize in science and technology, music and arts, agriculture, fisheries, sports, business entrepreneurship, and others.
“Ang aking tanong dyan palagi ay ganito: Kung walang mali sa sistema, bakit ang ating mga high school graduates ay hindi tinatanggap na magtrabaho ng mga localities? Ang gobyerno nga hindi tumatanggap ng high school graduate eh,” Luistro said.
The DepEd plans to implement the K+12 program in 2012 for Grade 1 and first year high school.
They anticipate spending some P63 billion for the program to construct additional classrooms and hire additional teachers for senior high school in 2015.
“Ang atin talagang piniling modelo ay ganito para makakaya ng gobyerno,” he said.
DepEd still has to hold public consultations on the K+12 program but this early, they face opposition.
Parents and students say the additional 2 years are a burden, especially for the poor.
“Napapag-aral naman po kaya lang kapag may project hindi naming kayang bumili. Tamang pambili lang ng bigas, minsan hindi na kami kumakain,” one mother said.
“Madagdagan pa yung taon instead na gra-graduate tapos dagdag gastos pa eh ang hirap na nga ng buhay ngayon,” another mother said.
“Yung iba imbis na makapagtrabaho para sa magulang, madadagdagan pa,” one of the students opposed to the program said.
Several students went a step further, picketing at the education department.
“Binibigyan ng kabataang Filipino si Pangulong Noynoy [Aquino] ng 5, ng F sa pagpapabaya ng sekto ng edukasyon, sa pagpili K+12 program sa kabila ng mas madaming problema sa education sa kasalukuyang panahon,” Terry Ridon, President of the League of Filipino Students said.
The DepEd, however, held firm, saying students need the additional 2 years to remain competitive especially for overseas employment.