In gearing up for the full implementation of the K to 12 program, the Department of Education (DepEd) issued provisional permits to 1,122 private schools that will offer Senior High School (SHS) last Tuesday, March 31.
In an interview, Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC said, “DepEd is doing everything it can to make sure that all the anxieties and fears will be addressed in the next 11 or 12 months.”
After years of planning and engaging with education stakeholders, DepEd, through its field offices, has identified and mapped more than 5,800 public schools set to offer SHS along with these private schools and other institutions in 2016. DepEd estimates that 1.2M to 1.6M public school students will enroll in SHS in 2016. Of this range, approximately 0.8M to 1.1M will proceed to DepEd SHS and the remaining 0.4M to 0.5M will enroll in non-DepEd SHS. Public school students and Education Service Contracting (ESC) grantees who will enroll in a non-DepEd SHS of their choice shall receive a subsidy from the government covering school fees through the proposed SHS Voucher Program of DepEd.
In an interview, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) national chairperson, Benjo Basas recognized the need for the educational reform, saying, “We are not against K to 12. Alam naman natin lahat na sa kasalukuyan, tayo na lang yata ang bansa na hindi nag-e-employ ng ganitong sistema, and of course in the preparation for lifelong learning ay ibibigay ito sa K to 12.” Basas, however, expressed concerns over government’s preparedness to implement the said program.
Luistro emphasized that DepEd has been preparing for this reform since 2010. On the fifth year of the K to 12 roll-out, DepEd continues to gear up for full implementation. He said, “We are building close to 30,000 classrooms at the second quarter. We will be hiring around 30,000 teachers by 2016. For all of our textbooks, as early as now, we have done a call for 2016, para wala na kaming issue.”
He added, “On this last leg, what we need is a little encouragement, support and for them to say, “Kakayanin iyan!” DepEd plants seeds and the harvest will happen in the next generation. I can only show where it’s leading.”