While the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Task Force is set to review the implementation of the senior high school (SHS) program, Senator Win Gatchalian pressed the need to address challenges on learners’ transition to employment or higher education.
Gatchalian lamented that while a decade has passed since the enactment of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10533) or the K to 12 Law, the K to 12 program has failed to deliver on its promise to make its graduates employable or college-ready.
Graduates of the Technical-Vocational-Track (TVL), for instance, are left at a dead end because they do not receive certifications after graduating, which could have boosted their chances of being employed. TVL graduates are instead left on their own to take certifications.
The certification rate for the 473,911 TVL graduates for School Year 2020-2021 was only 6.8%. Out of the 32,965 who took the national certification for that school year, however, 31,993 or 97.1% passed the national certification.
Since the cost of getting a National Certificate (NC) I or NC II is a bottleneck for TVL graduates, Gatchalian is proposing that the government shoulder the cost of certifying these TVL graduates.
Gatchalian added that the DepEd, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) should work more closely to ensure the smooth transition of senior high school graduates.
A tracer study by the DepEd revealed that top issues encountered by senior high school graduates who pursued higher education include difficulty and non-crediting of subjects. While some colleges and universities implement bridging programs, they entail additional costs for learners and their families, Gatchalian flagged. He also pointed out that the implementation of bridging programs is uneven because not all higher education institutions offer them.
To address employability woes of the senior high school program, Gatchalian has filed the Batang Magaling Act (Senate Bill No. 2022), which seeks to strengthen the linkages and collaboration among the DepEd, local government units, academic communities, and industry partners.