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DUTERTE ON K-12

MANILA, Philippines – Militant youth groups are challenging incoming president Rodrigo Duterte to stop the implementation of the K-12 program once he assumes office.
Reminding Duterte of his stance during the early days of the campaign, the League of Filipino Students (LFS) said Duterte previously said that he is not a fan of the mandatory addition of two years in high school.
In a press conference on Monday, Duterte said he has yet to come up with a solid stand on the matter and asked for one month to consult with his prospective secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd).
But during the roundtable discussion with editors and reporters of The STAR a week before the elections, Duterte said there is nothing wrong with K-12 but stressed the need to improve the capability of teachers.
“Nothing wrong with K-12 but it is just that our teachers must have seminars. They have to be at par with the teaching profession in the world. A teacher has to be attuned with the global environment and even the geopolitics of the country,” Duterte was quoted as saying in The STAR’s “So You Want to be President” series.
“You need somebody who is well-rounded. I was against it but a priest in Ateneo explained to me the benefits,” he added.
In their statement, LFS secretary-general Aries Gupit urged Duterte to stick to his previous pronouncements against the K-12 program.
“In the following days, we hope to hear from you. We challenge you to stop K-12 and knock over this program implemented by the previous regime. We stress that K-12 puts our pag-asa ng bayan, today’s youth, and the whole nation’s future in great peril,” he added.
The K-12 program, the biggest education reform in the country in recent years, is supported by a legislative measure signed by President Aquino in 2013.
Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education Law, mandates the inclusion of kindergarten and an additional two years of senior high school in the basic education system in the country.
The Supreme Court recently denied various petitions to issue a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the K-12 program.
DepEd is set to pilot the first batch of Grade 11 students next month.
Gupit said K-12 would only produce more dropouts and the program would curtail the youth’s right to free public basic education.
“K-12 is transforming our education into a lucrative business by allowing private schools to dominate senior high school. In the National Capital Region alone, only two out of 10 senior high schools are public. Of the 933 senior high schools in the region, 736 are private schools with matriculation cost of P25,000 up to more than P100,000,” Gupit noted.
“DepEd pronouncements that there are more public schools offering senior high school are meaningless. These public schools have very limited slots that they cannot even cater to half of their grade 10 students,” he added.

New DepEd chief

Duterte named Peter Laurel, president of the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) in Batangas and Laguna, as his prospective education secretary.
Laurel is the grandson of former president Jose Laurel and son of former senator Sotero Laurel. His family established LPU, where Duterte finished Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Outgoing Education Secretary Armin Luistro declined to comment on the choice of Laurel as his successor, saying the announcement has yet to become official.
In an earlier interview, however, he said that it would be difficult to stop K-12 as the gears for the implementation of its major feature – senior high school – are already in place.

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