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K to 12 to help increase PH labor competitive – Gatchalian

Photo by George Calvelo

Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Congressman Win Gatchalian ​has defended the implementation of the K to 12 program, saying this program of the Department of Education (DepEd) would increase the country’s labor competitiveness and equip students with technical-vocation skills even before they graduate from high school.

Gatchalian was reacting to a statement by SM Investments Corporation Vice Chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson that she is more in favor of vocational schools since this will ensure a steady supply of skilled workers needed by the local industry to grow.

“Not because I don’t believe in upgrading skills. It’s just that the Philippines is not a developed country, and we do have a lot of poverty around…I was hoping that we would have a lot of vocational schools that will train people with various relevant skills that will be needed by industry to grow,” Sy-Coson was quoted as saying during the Forbes Global CEO Conference 2015.

Gatchalian emphasized that the K to 12, despite adding two more years to basic education, would already give students technical and vocational training.

“Definitely, tech-voc is very important. And the beauty with K to 12 is technical vocational is already included in tech-voc for free,” Gatchalian said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart last week.

“So if we can execute this properly and effectively, we are now giving our high school students built-in tech-voc skills. This (tech-voc) is very effective also because we can now empower and give new skills to our youth in a very short amount of time,” explained the Valenzuela City lawmaker.

Gatchalian pointed out that K to 12 would also allow the Philippines to catch up and compete with other countries. “There are only three countries in the world which does not have a K to 12 program, and we’re one of them. So we’re really way behind in terms of competitiveness.”

Students in senior high school can choose among three tracks: Academic; Technical-Vocational-Livelihood; and Sports and Arts.

“[Tech-voc) is already integrated, they’ll be NC-1 certified and NC-2 certified after they graduate, that means they can already look for jobs,” said Gatchalian, who is a majority member in the House Committees on Basic Education and Culture and on Higher and Technical Education.

Gatchalian was referring to the National Certificate Level 1, which can be obtain by a student after finishing Grade 10, and National Certificate Level 1, which can be granted to a student after finishing a Technical-Vocational-Livelihood track in Grade 12 and passing the competency-based assessment of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

He said these certificates boost students’ employability in agriculture, electronics, and trade. Graduates also have to match with industry needs

“Of course we have to also match it with industry needs. This is in the premise of matching what the industry needs in their locality,” concluded Gatchalian. (Monica Cantilero)