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Poll says many Filipinos dissatisfied with K-12, urgent reforms needed

Almost half of Filipinos are dissatisfied with the K-12 program, revealed by Senator Win Gatchalian, who commissioned Pulse Asia to measure public satisfaction over the program’s implementation.


SAGÑAY, CAMARINES SUR, Philippines – School children disembark from a banca after having their lunch in this coastal village of Nato, southeast of Manila, 25 June 2019. Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture chairman Senator Win Gatchalian revealed that among those who expressed dissatisfaction with the K-12 program through a nationwide survey, 31 percent said that they would opt to have better education rather than just having more education. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

With 1,200 respondent-families nationwide, Gatchalian shared that 47 percent of Filipinos are not satisfied with K-12, 38 percent are satisfied, and 13 percent are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

Among those who expressed dissatisfaction with the program, 78 percent said that K-12 is an added cost, 40 percent said a high school diploma is not enough in getting a better job, 40 percent feared that two more years of high school will increase the drop-out rate, 39 percent cited the need for more classrooms and teachers, and 31 percent said that they would opt to have better education rather than just having more education.

They also cited that students cannot work immediately or help their parents at once because of the additional two years in school. Furthermore, they share the view that companies prefer those who have finished college more than those who have only finished high school.

When the K-12 program was enacted into law in 2013, it promised better employability for graduates of the senior high school (SHS) program. A 2018 survey by online portal JobStreet revealed, however, that out of 500 companies, only 24 percent are willing to hire K-12 graduates.

“Kung susuriin natin ang opinyon ng taong bayan, makikita natin na hindi natutupad ng K-12 ang pangako nito. Ngunit hindi ang mismong programa ng K-12 ang may problema kundi ang pagpapatupad nito, kaya mahalagang mabigyan natin ng pansin ang mga repormang kinakailangan upang maiangat natin ang kalidad ng ating edukasyon,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

According to Gatchalian, the fastest way to improve the K-12 program is to decongest the curriculum. He says that the curriculum currently requires too many competencies, teachers and students found themselves having less time to teach and absorb the lessons. It also prevented students from having sufficient competence in Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, which leads to continued presence of non-readers in higher grades.

Teachers’ readiness should also be given more focus, Gatchalian said, noting that teachers are not adequately equipped with the expertise required in teaching K-12 competencies. Another issue that needs to be addressed is the availability of quality and updated learning materials such as textbooks, Gatchalian added.

Gatchalian recently filed a resolution calling for a Senate inquiry on the implementation of the K-12 program. The inquiry’s findings are expected to guide policy recommendations and complementary legislation to ensure that the program meets its objectives.