“Stopping K to 12 is not an option. It is the right thing to do especially because K to 12 will only worsen the dire situation of our education system and exacerbate the poor conditions of the Filipino people.”
This is the statement of League of Filipino Students (LFS) national chairperson Charisse Bañez on Friday in what the group dubbed as Day of Action against K to 12. LFS and Kabataan partylist together with teachers and parents held a press conference to condemn the Supreme Court (SC) for denying the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the K to 12 law. In the afternoon, they held a noise protest in front of the Department of Education (DepEd) main office in Pasig to assert their demand to stop K to 12.
K to 12 privatizes basic education
According to Bañez, Aquino is hell bent in implementing K to 12 to give favour to private schools and capitalist-educators at the expense of the Constitutionally guaranteed right of the youth to free basic education. The youth leader noted that the regime is focused on securing profit for big businesses instead of funding free and mandatory public education. Bañez argued that the dominance of private schools in senior high school is a proof of the scheme of the government to make money out of every high school education.
|CITY||NO. of PUBLIC SHS||NO. of PRIVATE SHS||TOTAL SHS|
“As of recent, private schools still dominate senior high schools. In the National Capital Region alone, 78.89% of senior high schools are private. There are only 197 public schools out of 933 senior high schools,” said Bañez.
“Even the existing public schools that are already offering senior high school education do not have the capacity to even absorb all of their current students. The number of public senior high that DepEd is so proud of is nothing but mere media gimmick,” Bañez added.
Bañez cited the case of Araullo High School which was reported to have only 100 slots for senior high school compared to 1090 grade 10 students of their school. The youth argued that this is the mechanism of K to 12 to force students in enrolling at private schools.
“K to 12’s design is to turn basic education into a lucrative business at the expense of the future and rights of the youth. This clearly violates Article XIV, Sections 1 and 2 that gives responsibility to the government to ensure free public basic education,” said Bañez
Bañez stressed that the domination of private schools in senior high will result to 700 thousand to 1 million students dropping out of high school education because they cannot afford the cost of education in these private schools. She added that annually, a third of these private schools – more than 1 thousand – relentlessly increase tuition and other school fees.
Bañez noted that matriculation alone costs about 25 thousand pesos to over 70 thousand pesos. She added that students also need 100 thousand to more than 200 thousand for the fare, books and other school supplies, uniform, projects and other academic requirements for the additional two years in high school.
Voucher and K to 12 guarantee profit
According to the youth leader, the voucher system is actually never meant to make senior high school more accessible to high school students. As per the Detailed Guidelines for SHS Voucher Implementation or DepEd Order 88 Series 2015, Bañez noted that the students will not have a chance to even hold the money since the amount indicated in the voucher will be deposited directly to the school bank.
“K to 12 voucher’s true objective is to provide the minimum revenue desired by school owners and capitalist-educators. If we refer to the 2016 national budget, there will be a whopping P12.18 billion allocated to secure the minimum revenue of private schools,” said Bañez.
Bañez cited the Affordable Private Education Center (APEC) as an example. She noted that the government guarantees Ayala and Pearson’s APEC schools a minimum of P500 million to a billion in the first year of implementing of K to 12’s senior high school.
“This is alarming! The billions of pesos that the government is shelling out to K to 12 should instead be used in making education more accessible by increasing public schools across the country. The evil in K to 12 is its design to make the most money out of the youth’s right to education,” said Bañez.
“K to 12 is an attack to our right to education. It violates our inherent right that was even guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and recognized in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. K to 12 will immediately crush the hopes of 1 million students. It also endangers the future of the whole nation since it will produce more drop outs and out-of-school youths,” Bañez added.
Other violations of K to 12
Bañez also noted that K to 12 violates the government’s mandate to inculcate patriotism and nationalism among the youth by removing Philippine history in high school and hindering the development of the Filipino language through curriculum reforms in college.
Bañez also stressed that the Aquino regime abandons its responsibility to ‘develop a self reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos’ as stated in Article II, Section 19 of the Philippine Constitution. She said that K to 12 focuses on technical-vocational courses which promote jobs for export based on the needs of other countries. The youth leader emphasized that K to 12 undermines the necessity for a national industrialization, rural development, and agrarian reform that will stabilize the country’s economy.
Continuing struggle against K to 12
“It is never too late to stop K to 12 especially if the hopes and futures of 1 million students and an entire country are at stake. We still have time to stop this program,” Bañez said.
LFS issued a challenge to all candidates for the national election to stand against K to 12. Bañez said that the regime change can be seen as an opportunity to stop the program.
LFS is also preparing for an anti-K to 12 summit in mid-April to provide a venue to unite students, teachers, and parents for a general plan of action in the next months. Bañez said that they will also mount bigger and more militant protests in before the class starts to assert their demand.
Bañez also called all students and teachers to be part of a nationwide walk out in the first day of classes in June. She urged the different sectors to also join the nationwide protests in the following days to come. ###