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AT LEAST 800,000 students may drop out of school under the full implementation of the K to 12 program starting 2016, a militant congressman said Thursday.

In a press conference, Kabataan Representative Terry Ridon said based on the Department of Education (DepEd) figures submitted to Congress, 1.6 million students would enroll in the senior high school level next year despite the fact that the country’s public school system can only accommodate 800,000 to 1.1 million senior high school students.

This means at least 800,000 students may form part of out of school youth or may be absorbed in private schools where education is more expensive, Ridon said.
“Walang pupuntahan ang malaking bilang ng mga estudyante kundi maging college drop-outs,” Ridon said. Other militant youth groups, such as the Student Christian Movement, National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, and Anakbayan, shared his view.
Programang drop-out ang K to 12,” Anakbayan chairperson Vencer Crisostomo said in the same press briefing.

Ridon said private schools would benefit from K to 12 because students who will not be accommodated by public schools will be absorbed by private educational institutions.

The DepEd plans to give P12,000 to P20,000 voucher per student who will enroll in private schools in a bid to decongest public schools under K to 12. Under the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education or Republic Act 8545, financial assistance such as textbook funds, tuition and other fee supplements, educational loans, among others are given to priority students who will enroll in private schools and whose families have an annual income of P72,000 and below.

“It’s a devilish plan that ensures that private schools will have a greater number of enrollees, and consequently, higher profit, all to the disadvantage of thousands of students… Ultimately, this can lead to a situation wherein close to a million students will have no choice but to drop out…” Ridon said.

Ridon said in the case of Metro Manila, there are zero schools in Caloocan, Makati, San Juan and ParaƱaque, which can offer the additional senior high school years, according to DepEd figures, leaving students in those cities no choice but to enroll in private schools.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. has denied that the K to 12 would result in college dropouts.

“Hindi po natin nakikita ‘yung senaryo na kanilang ipinipinta hinggil dito, kaya ang atin pong posisyon diyan ay doon pa rin sa aspeto na masiglang pagpapatupad nito. Wala po tayong hangarin dito na mapariwara, bagkus gusto natin pong mapagbuti ang kinabukasan ng ating mga kabataan,” Coloma said in a radio interview.

Under the K to 12 program, there will be one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary, and six years of secondary education (the latter includes four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school). The two years of senior high school would allow students to specialize in the sciences, arts, sports, technical education, among others.

The additional two senior high school years would displace tertiary schools of incoming first year students for at least two years.

The program aims to make the country’s education system at par with other more developed countries, despite additional cost to families and problems on educational infrastructure.

Ridon said they plan to file an injunction for temporary restraining order with petition for prohibition before the Supreme Court to suspend the implementation of K to 12.
For his part, Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said the DepEd is pushing for K to 12 despite a backlog of 67,849 classrooms in the opening of classes this month.
He said DepEd in 2014 received a budget of P37.6 billion to construct 43,180 classrooms but as of April 2015, only 7,072 classrooms were constructed.
“16 percent utilization, after more than a year, ganoon kabagal ang performance ng DepEd in terms of classrooms construction,” Tinio said in a press conference Wednesday. AC

SOURCE:newsinfo.inquirer.net


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