Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trillanes calls for in-depth study on the ambitious K+12 of DepEd

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, June 10, 2011-Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV bats for the investigation about the ambitious Enhanced Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K+12) program of the Department of Education (DepEd) which seeks to expand basic education to 13 years from the current 10 years, describing the DepEd program intend to implement next school year as a big, costly and potentially disastrous experiment that would only worsen the existing problems confronting the education sector in the lack of teachers and classrooms in the country.

Trillanes said that the DepEd revealed that severe shortage estimated to around 103,000 elementary and high school teachers plus 27,000 Kindergarten teachers and an equally severe shortage of classrooms estimated at around 90,000.

“Why are our education officials proposing to adopt a system which will obviously result to an aggravation of the already severe shortage in teaching personnel and classrooms?,” he asked, pointing out that most public schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) have 76 to 79 students, a far cry from the ideal ratio of 45 students per classroom.

“The national average class size in Philippine secondary schools is 56 students per classroom and can be considered overcrowded when compared to Malaysia’s 34, South Korea’s 35.1 and Thailand’s 41.5,” Trillanes furthered, citing that the case of Batasan National High School, which has three shifts of classes daily and where some students go to school as early as 5:30 in the morning and will go home as late as 7:20 in the evening.

He asked that if we implement DepEd’s K + 12 system, are we going to add a fourth shift and require our students to wake up earlier, say at 3:00 a.m. or maybe go home at midnight? Are we going to pack our students even more tightly with 150 students per class?

“The program would entail additional costs not only to the government but most especially to the parents. Parents who are barely able to make both ends meet. The same parents who must now bear the burden of the rising cost not only of education but of almost everything else from food to utilities and from gasoline to LPG,” Trillanes said.

“Under the present basic education system, the  K+12 program would only result to more dropouts, noting that for every 100 students who enter Grade 1, only 43 manage to finish high school and only 14 graduate from college,” Trillanes revealed.

Trillanes said that the dropout rate would further increase if the government extended the 10-year basic education by two more years, where he debunked DepEd’s claim that the program would improve the quality of basic education and address youth unemployment.

Former Education Deputy Minister Abraham Felipe and Dr. Carolina Porio recent study showed that there is no correlation between the number of years of basic education and the overall quality of education.

Trillanes mentioned the case of students from Singapore who performed best in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) from among 50 countries which have the same length of high school cycle as the Philippines, saying that the countries that have longer high school cycles such as South Africa, Chile, Palestine, Morocco and Saudi Arabia belong to the group that have low-performing high school students.

Trillanes asked that if thousands upon thousands of college degree holders now cannot find employment, what makes the DepEd believe that they can solve our unemployment problem by producing ‘employable’ high school graduates?

“Parents have sacrificed much so that their children would finish even high school only, why there is a need for the additional two years for the elementary and for the secondary where in fact there is no clear manifestation that the country will benefit from the proposed educational program,” the young senator said. (Jason de Asis)


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