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Sen. Gatchalian urges Congressional Leadership to prioritize convening of K to 12 Oversight Committee

Photo by George Calvelo

Senator-elect Win Gatchalian is urging the incoming congressional leadership to prioritize the convening of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the K to 12 Program when the 17th Congress opens on July 25.

This is in response to mounting tensions between the government and civil society groups concerning the ongoing full implementation of K to 12.

Gatchalian pointed out that Section 13 of Republic Act No. 10533, popularly known as the K to 12 Law, provides for the creation of a Joint Oversight Committee to “oversee, monitor, and evaluate the implementation” of the law.

“The legislative branch of government must step in to fulfill its critical oversight function as mandated by the K to 12 Law. We need to objectively assess the facts on-the-ground in order to craft legislation and recommend executive actions, which will address shortcomings of K to 12,” said Gatchalian, a member of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture during the 16th Congress.

Specifically, Gatchalian wants the K to 12 Oversight Committee to investigate the effects of full K to 12 implementation on high school dropout rates. The Department of Education has reported that around 1.1 million students have enrolled in grade 11 for the 2016-2017 school year; and an estimated 1.5 million students finished grade 10 last year, leaving the status of 400,000 unaccounted-for students in question.

Gatchalian observed that these figures indicate a dropout rate between grades 10 and 11 of 27 percent, a significant increase from the historical annual high school dropout rate of roughly 7 to 8 percent.

“What happened to these missing students? How can we get them back in school? These are important questions that the government needs to answer if we are to prevent K to 12 from becoming a feeder program of the out-of-school youth sector,” said Gatchalian. (Aureli Sinsuat)