With less than two months before the start of classes in public elementary schools, a Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) congressman has expressed confidence that the Department of Education or DepEd will be able to overcome the hurdles in implementing the “K to 12 Program”.
During the weekly media forum at the Serye Restaurant at the Quezon Memorial Circle, Valenzuela City Congressman 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 of senior high school approaches. Kabilang na dito ‘yung kakulangan sa classroom at teaching personnel pero on track naman ang kanilang preparation at mayroon silang available solutions for the problems,” Gatchalian said.
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“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 P53.9 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 P53.9-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 in private high schools, or state universities and colleges.
Gatchalian said the Congress is preparing a P29-billion transition fund for the Commission on Higher Education or CHED to create more jobs for teaching and non-teaching personnel that may get displaced once “K to 12 Program” starts.
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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,” explained Gatchalian.
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 I) and National Certificate Level II (NC II) accreditation, equivalent to a two-year training in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA. The employability of graduates in fields, like agriculture, electronics, and trade, will improve through NC I and NC II.
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“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 said.
“Another goal of ‘K to 12’ is make our students globally competitive. Kahit mangibang-bansa sila after graduation, kaya nilang makipagsabayan sa ibang mga lahi dahil sapat ang taon na ginugol nila sa paaralan,” the lawmaker concluded. (Tim Alcantara/R. Burgos)