MANILA — With less than two months before the start of classes in public elementary schools, a veteran solon on Saturday has expressed confidence the Department of Education (DepEd) will be able to overcome the hurdles in implementing the K to 12 Program.
Valenzuela City Rep. Win Gatchalian said the DepEd is capable of addressing the lack of classrooms and teaching personnel as two more years will be added in the high school curriculum.
“DepEd is currently facing challenges as the K to 12 implementation approaches. It includes the classroom and teaching personnel shortages. The department is doing its best to address the problem before the actual implementation of K to 12,” said Gatchalian.
“That is why I am positive that the DepEd will overcome these logistical challenges in implementing a program that will reap long-term benefits for Filipino students,” the lawmaker added.
Gatchalian, a member of House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, noted that the government has allotted PHP53.9 billion to the budget of DepEd to cover the construction of 31,728 classrooms and the repair of another 9,500 in preparation for the K to 12 program.
The PHP53.9-billion budget will also fund the construction of 13,586 water and sanitation facilities as well as 455 technical-vocational laboratories, and the procurement of 1.3 million chairs.
In the mid-2015 report of DepEd on K to 12 program, a voucher program for incoming senior high school will also be introduced to subsidize their tuition fee in private high schools, or state universities and colleges.
Gatchalian said the Congress is preparing a Php29-billion transition fund for the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to create more jobs for teaching and non-teaching personnel that may get displaced once K to 12 program starts.
He pointed out that K to 12 program is designed to make students more employable after graduation as it introduces different tracks of specialization in preparation for college or actual employment. These specialization options, Gatchalian stressed, serve as necessary springboard to have an educational system that rivals the best systems in the world in terms of equal access and learning outcomes.
“We have to keep our eyes on the prize, which is an education system that rivals the best systems in the world in terms of equal access and learning outcomes. In all honesty, we will have to make certain sacrifices today if we want to reach our goal tomorrow. We need to use foresight, and we need to exercise strong political will to push ahead with challenging but meaningful programs such as this,” he explained.
Under the K to 12 program, students in senior high school may specialized in academics, sports, arts and design, and technical vocational livelihood. Senior high school students will also undergo immersion, which may include earn-while-you-learn opportunities, to provide them relevant exposure and actual work experience in their chosen track.
After finishing K to 12 program, senior high school graduates will also obtain National Certificate Level I (NC II) and National Certificate Level II (NC II) accreditation, equivalent to a two-year training in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). NC I and NC II improve the employability of graduates in fields like agriculture, electronics, and trade.
“The program will also decongest the cramped 10-year education program and will allow them to learn completely at their own pace, especially on Math and Science,” Gatchalian stressed.
“Another goal of K to 12 is make our students globally competitive,” the lawmaker concluded.