DepEd assures smooth implementation of K-12 program

The Department of Education (DepEd) assured that they have already resolved some issues in the country’s basic education system to ensure a smooth transition into and full implementation of the K to 12 Program.

In an interview, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Development Jesus Mateo said that they were satisfied with their actions in solving some issues including the allayment of parents’ fears that the senior high school program would entail added costs and burdens to their families.

Nakatanggap tayo ng mga concerns dahil sa kakulangan ng information at understanding ng mga policies pero naging successful naman tayo in a sense na lahat ng mga agam-agam ay na-address ng kagawaran,” said Mateo.

Pero pareho lang ang mangyayari kahit walang K-12. Papasok pa rin ang mga bata sa kolehiyo dahil hindi pa pwedeng magtrabaho o mag-negosyo ang isang 16 year old,” he added.

Under the K-12 curriculum, two years- Grades 11 and 12- will be added to the free universal basic education program as mandated by the Constitution. Graduates of the Senior High School (SHS) Program have the choice to enter college or pursue a career instead.

Mismong mga taga-industriya at business sectors na ang nagsabi na hindi lahat ng trabaho sa atin ay nangangailangan ng four- year college degree, kailangan lang nila ay kahit mga high school graduates na may critical thinking skills at maganda ang communication skills,” he said.

The K-12 program is one of the pioneering platforms of the administration of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III. The implementation started in 2012 with the installation of Kindergarten level in all public schools and the following year, K-12 was signed into law.

With the implementation, Mateo said that the government had increased the budget allocated for the education sector this 2016.

Noong 2010, P175 billion lamang ang budget natin pero ngayon ay nasa P435 billion na. Kumbaga close to 148 percent ang increase dahil naniniwala tayo sa pangangailangan ng K-12 program.”

DepEd’s proposed budget is the highest among all departments and agencies with an increase of 15.4 percent or P58.2 billion compared to their 2015 budget of P377.7 billion.

Mateo said that the increased in budget funds helped them address the concerns in facilities and equipment in public schools.

Ayon sa ating data, noong 2010, ang pangangailangan ng mga silid-aralan ay tumataya ng mga 66,000. By 2013, nakapagpatayo na tayo ng more than 66,000 classrooms, nagkaroon din tayo ng probisyon ng mga computers para sa mga public elementary schools at nagkaroon din ng mga Science and Mathematics equipment kung gusto natin maging knowledge economy tayo,” Mateo said.

Aside from facilities and materials, the budget has also an allocation for the K-12 program.

Maliban sa mga silid-aralan, 20 percent ay para sa Senior High School and the remaining less than 80 percent ay mapupunta yun sa Kinder to Grade 10. Tinataasan din yung operating expenses ng mga paaralan,” Mateo added.

The additional two years in the basic education and the revision in the curriculum also entail the need for more teachers. Mateo said that DepEd has made an effort to hire more teachers in public schools.

May programa ang ating pamahalaan na ine-enganyo ang mga guro na nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa na bumalik dito. 150 na ang bumalik sa Pilipinas para magturo ulit sa kani-kanilang mga lugar.”

Ang isa sa problema ng senior high school ay kakulangan ng specialist instructors. Kaya nga sa batas natin sa K-12 na R.A. 10533, sinasabi dun na pwede tumanggap ng isang teacher na hindi lisensyado. Halimbawa, kung Journalism graduate ka, pwede kang tanggapin para magturo ng Creative Writing or any subject related sa pagsusulat,” Mateo explained.

Mateo also assured that college professors and instructors have nothing to worry about as the government will prioritize them during the implementation of SHS.

Sa ating hiring policy, priority should be given to those displaced higher education teachers. Sa katanuyan nga, last year, nagkaroon tayo ng early expression of interest. Nakapagtala tayo ng 41,000 na interesadong magturo sa SHS at 5,000 doon ay mga galing sa mga kolehiyo.”

Mateo added that different agencies will help higher education instructors to earn money.

Ang Department of Labor and Employment ay may Employment Adjustment Measure Program kung saan yung faculty na-nadisplace ay bibigyan ng subisidiya ng sweldo pero based dun sa regional salary wages at tutulungan rin sila maghanap ng ibang trabaho kung ayaw nilang magturo.”

On the other hand, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will offer financial assistance for college instructors who want to pursue another degree while on leave.

Ang CHED naman ay magbibigay ng scholarships.  Habang wala pang enrolment sa kanilang kolehiyo, pwede ka mag-aral lalo na kung gusto mo kumuha ng Master’s or Doctorate degree,” Mateo said.

Recently, presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte proposed to remove the mandatory requirement for public school students to wear school uniforms. However Mateo clarified that it was already an existing policy and he remains neutral about it.

May patakaran na tayo diyan noong 2008 pa. Naniniwala kasi tayo na dapat natin tanggalin ang mga balakid para makapasok ang mga bata sa paaralan. Pero may mga public school talaga na may uniform, kasi nag-usap yung mga magulang para malaman kung sino ang outsider at para rin makatipid. Kasi nga naman hindi mo na iisipin kung ano ang susuotin mo araw-araw.”

As the Aquino administration is about to end, Mateo said that DepEd is hoping that the new administration under Duterte would continue what they have done.

Ang challenge sa atin ngayon ay continuation of what we have done. Dapat may consistency sa nasimulan, lalo na sa usapin ng reporma ng K-12. Marami din kasi tayong mga binago gaya ng istruktura ng kagawaran, binago din natin yung ibang polisiya natin. Patuloy dapat yung ating mga reporma. “

Mahirap kasi kung di natin pagtutuloy kasi magsu-suffer pati yung mga bata at magulang kasi di natin alam kung saan dapat pumunta,” he added.

The senior high school program is set to be implemented this coming school year.

 DepEd said that classes will start on June 13. V.A.F.

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