Trillanes spearheads coalition vs K-12

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2015 04:52 PM | Updated as of Mar 08 2015 12:52 AM

MANILA - Senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV on Saturday headed the launching of a coalition composed of groups seeking to convince the government to shelve the K to 12 program.

The Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (COTESCUP), along with faculty, non-teaching staff, parents, labor unions and faculty associations, called for the suspension of the K to 12 program, citing the inadequate preparation of the country's educational system for the implementation of the new education program.

Trillanes, a known critic of the program, voted against Republic Act 10533 (K to 12 Law) during the deliberations running up to the passage of the law.

"I have reviewed the policy environment, consulted various stakeholders, and conducted inspections of various schools nationwide," said the senator.

Based on this review, Trillanes concluded that the Philippines is not yet ready for the K to 12 program.

Instead of calling the program K to 12, the senator opts to call it "K minus 12 program."

"At this point it is more appropriate to call this the K minus 12 program because of the problems besetting the program: inadequate resources, inadequate tools, inadequate classrooms, inadequate teachers, inadequate preparation and planning, inadequate time to prepare for its implementation, inadequate information dissemination among its stakeholders, inadequate consultations among affected sectors, inadequate coordination between the government and private sectors, inadequate opportunities for those who will graduate from the program, inadequate capacity of parents to send children for additional 2 years in highschool, and inadequate heart," Trillanes said in a statement.

The Coalition for K to 12 Suspension, headed by Professor Rene Luis Tadle, said that it was formed because "based on the consultations we conducted, we found out that the country's education system is woefully ill-prepared for this program."

Tadle said majority of the country's high schools do not have enough classrooms and facilities to accommodate additional students, as a result of the program.

He also argued that the new program is an "additional burden for our already grossly underpaid teachers."

"Even most of the parents are not aware of the details of this program, including the financial burden it would bring them," Tadle said.

In the manifesto prepared by the group, it mentioned that one of the grounds for the suspension of the program is the government's failure to secure the tenure of college teachers and non-teaching staff who are at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the dramatic decline in the number of college enrollees by academic year 2016-2017.

At least 56,771 college teachers and 22,838 non-teaching staff may lose their jobs by 2016.

The coalition is preparing to conduct an aggressive nationwide information campaign through various media which will culminate in a massive protest scheduled on 9 May 2015, at Luneta Park in Manila.

They will soon file a petition in the Supreme Court to ask for its suspension.

"We must work together and let our voices be heard by PNoy and the Supreme Court. Our goal is to make them realize that our country doesn't need the K to 12 Program and the people cannot afford it," Trillanes further explained.

"The present system worked for the earlier generations, and there is no reason why it shouldn't work for the present crop of students. We just need to fill in the shortages in classrooms, teachers, desks, and books; and increase the salaries of teachers."

Under the K to 12 Program, two more years, referred to as Senior high school, will be added to the current education system. The new system covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education: six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School.

During Senior High School, students are expected to specialize on the areas or career tracks they want to pursue, which include: Academic; Technical-Vocational-Livelihood; and Sports and Arts. The Academic track includes three strands: Business, Accountancy, Management (BAM); Humanities, Education, Social Sciences (HESS); and Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM).