PH education system not ready for K+12 program – Rep. Ilagan

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/23 May) — A party-list representative from Mindanao has expressed opposition to the K+12 program saying this will worsen the perennial problems facing the country’s public education system even as the program’s supporters in Congress argue that the program seeks to enhance the skills and competitive edge of graduates in the international labor market.

Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, in an interview here Friday, said the current public education system is not yet ready for the program.

“The K+12 program will further compound our public education system simply because it is still facing a lot of logistical and personnel problems. Grabe nga kakulangon sa mga classrooms, teachers ug sa mga teachers nga naga-serve na sa DepEd, aduna’y problema pa gyud sa ilang mga suhulan,” (There’s a dire lack of classrooms, teachers and for teachers serving the Department of Education, there’s also a problem with their salaries) Ilagan, who was in town last week said.

Ilagan, a member of House committees on appropriation and basic education, said the program will be an added burden to parents when classes open this June.

“Granting lugar nga libre ang public education, dawbi ang pamilite ug uban pang galamiton sa pag eskwela sa mga bata maka apektar sa gamay ra gyud kaayo nga budget sa mga ginikanan,” (Grnating public education is free, but transportation expenses and other school needs will surely affect the parents’ meager budget) she said.

House Bill 4199, An Act Enhancing the Curriculum and Increasing the Number of Years for Basic Education or more popularly known now as Enhanced K+12 Basic Education Program is being pushed by the committee on basic education and culture chaired by Sorsogon 1st District Rep. Salvador Escudero III. It seeks to increase quality of basic education and the high school graduates’ competiveness in the job market.

“We will make sure that we will address these current problems. That’s why I recommended that colleges stop offering education courses because we have to employ first the more than 100,000 unemployed teachers in the country,” Escudero said.

“We are the most educated poor country in Asia. Dapat ang trabaho magtutugma sa pinag-aralan,” (The job should match the level of education attained) he added in explaining the need to enhance the country’s education system.

Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who hosted the committee’s public hearing here Friday, said that only the kindergarten phase of the program will be implemented when classes resume in June.

“Dili pa man and entero K+12 ang i-implement karong June. Ang kindergarten pa,” Rodriguez said.

In the committee’s public hearing held here Friday, resource person Dr. Isagani Cruz explained that the program will not change the current curriculum but instead decongest it to give emphasis to the mastery of basic skills and competency.

“The basic education is designed to teach a 12-year curriculum but it is delivered in just 10 years,” Cruz said adding that studies have also shown that there is a 7.5% increase in projected income for every additional year of schooling.

Ilagan, a long-time educator and professor at the Ateneo de Davao University said Cruz’ statement implied that the program seeks to address the needs of the international job market instead of the country’s need for professionals.

“For whom are we preparing our graduates for? We should improve education here. In effect, you are telling graduates to go to school and work outside of the country. We should not produce graduates in order to cater to foreign nations,” she argued. (Cong B. Corrales/MindaNews)