MANILA, Philippines – Public elementary schools all over the country welcomed the youngest members of their community on Monday.
The move is part of the Department of Education's (DepEd) universal kindergarten program, which encourages children 5 years and below to enroll in kindergarten classes.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro was elated at the sight of the new batch of eager learners when he visited P. Gomez and San Juan Elementary School in Metro Manila on Monday morning.
Luistro firmly believes in the importance of kinder to reinforce basic education.
"Sa mga pagaaral, marami sa mga nagdrodrop-out sa elementary ay mga batang hindi pumasok sa kinder. Sa wakas may 'K' na ang K12 program", quipped Luistro
Critics of the program, however, continued to rage against the new DepEd policy.
Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo believes shortages in classrooms, facilities, and teachers should be addressed first before the extension of basic education is even considered.
"Walang kakayahan ang gobyerno na magpatupad ng ganyang programa, dahil lubhang kulang pa rin ang budget sa edukasyon. Sa huli, nagiging pabigat lang siya sa mga magulang na tipid na tipid sa kanilang budget", said Crisostomo.
For his part, Luistro promised another round of consultations to discuss their proposal to add two more years of elementary and high school education.
The DepEd said that the success or failure of this new kinder batch, will factor heavily in their future decision.