Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) senatorial bet Win Gatchalian today downplayed fears that the implementation of the K to 12 program this coming school year will result to more high school dropouts especially those from private schools.
“On the contrary, many private schools are now problematic because many students and even teachers in private schools are transferring to public schools for the senior high school (SHS) program. This is because public school teachers are given higher pay than those in private schools and receive numerous benefits from government,” said Gatchalian, who is among the supporters of K to 12 in Congress.
Gatchalian said the Department of Education’s earlier projection revealed that about 172,000 students will transfer to public schools this year for the SHS program.
“It is incumbent on the DepEd to make sure that private school students transferring to public senior high school will be accommodated and the opening of classes in June will not be chaotic as some quarters fear that it will be,” said Gatchalian, an advocate of quality and accessible education for all students.
Around 5,800 public schools and 1,866 private schools are set to offer the SHS program this year with some 1.3 million students expected to enroll before June. Of the 1.3 million students, around 878,000 students will be enrolling in public schools while some 438,000 students will go to private schools.
The Federation of Associations of Private Schools & Administrators (FAPSA) had said many private schools could not open senior high school program because they could not match what the government can give, that is, a salary from P25,000 to P40,000 to their SHS applicants (teachers) as advertised in DepEd website.
Gatchalian said he understands the problem confronting private schools even as he urged private school administrators to fully utilize the government assistance to students and teachers in private education (GASTPE), which has a P9 billion budget for this year, according to DepEd.
Under the K to 12 program, a student is required to undergo kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high, and two years in senior high school.
Under the SHS program, a student can choose one among four major “tracks” — academic, technical-vocational livelihood, arts and design, and sports.
Under the academic track, there are four “strands” — Accountancy, Business and Management (ABM); Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS); Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); and the General Academic strand. Those who have completed the SHS program after two years can go to college if they wish to continue their studies.