Additional 2 years under K-12, additional torture for students – youth groups

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino, along with various youth and student formations, condemned the rushed passage of House Bill No. 6643 or the K-12 Bill on second reading, reiterating the dangers that additional years in basic education post for students.

“During my interpellation in the plenary yesterday, main proponents of the K-12 Bill admitted that the Department of Education is still pilot-testing the curricular reforms under K-12. My point was this: why is Congress rushing to pass this bill instead of waiting for the assessment of the pilot-testing?” Palatino said during a press conference in the House of Representatives today.

Mai Uichanco, secretary general of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), reiterated concerns on the readiness of the government to implement the K-12 program. “There are still issues that need to be resolved – on ample budgeting, issues pertaining to the curriculum, and the overall readiness of the government to jumpstart K012,” Uichanco said.

“Rushing the implementation of this program will have dire effects on students. DepEd has yet to resolve the shortages in the basic education sector, and now they want K-12 to push through even if schools, teachers, and DepEd itself is not yet ready,” Uichanco added.

Several LFS members protested inside the plenary yesterday as Congress was passing the bill via viva voce voting.

Meanwhile, National Union of Students of the Philippines Secretary General Issa Baguisi stressed the underlying motive of K-12 to feed the global need for cheap labor.

“DepEd needs to review the K-12 curriculum. We fear that the integration of technical vocational courses in high school clearly shows that instead of teaching students basic subjects they need to contribute to national development, the government is just preparing them for export in other countries,” Baguisi said.

Under the K-12 curriculum, students will be taught four preparatory technical vocational courses in Grades 7 and 8. In Grades 9-12, students can choose their specializations, similar to courses offered by TESDA, which includes aquaculture, tailoring, carpentry, caregiving, and household services, among others.

“Curricular reforms are not enough to resolve the high drop-out rates in the high school level. DepEd already decongested the basic education curriculum under the Revised Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC) over a decade ago. Yet, we still have high drop-out rates,” Palatino explained.

“If we implement K-12, can we promise K-12 graduates that they will have jobs after they graduate? No, we cannot promise that. Even college graduates now find it hard to get jobs,” Palatino added.

The youth solon called on his fellow legislators to reconsider their position on the K-12 Bill in the third reading of the bill, which is expected to take place during the resumption of Congress in November.

“Adding two more years to basic education translates to added burdens, both on part of the government and the families of students. Two more years of education is tantamount to two more years of torture,” Palatino said.

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