“President Duterte should also consider speaking with students with regards to K to 12. We have been firm in our stand against this education program and we hope that President Duterte will stand by our side.”
This is the statement of League of Filipino Students (LFS) secretary-general Aries Gupit in a press conference on Tuesday morning after president-elect Rodrigo Duterte asked for a month to come up with a clear stand on K to 12.
On Monday, Duterte admitted that he was hesitant about K to 12 but he said that he became vacillated about his stand after hearing some arguments. He added that he will discuss the program with his incoming Department of Education Secretary.
“We urge the next Philippine president to heed our demand to stop and junk the K to 12 program. We ask President Duterte to also give time to listen to the students and other affected sectors,” said Gupit.
The youth leader presented three major points why the next regime should heed the demand of stopping K to 12. According to Gupit these are (1) K to 12 is education designed to depress wages, (2) K to 12 is an added burden to students and their families, and (3) K to 12 will worsen to the current education woes.
“With the scarce job opportunities in the country, K-12 graduates which are of employable age will be added to the ocean of 11.2 million unemployed and underemployed Filipinos. This will only increase joblessness in the country and lower the value of Filipino labor,” said Gupit.
“K to 12 is also a burden forced on to the students and their families. Private schools dominate senior high schools. In the National Capital Region alone, 78.89% of senior high schools are private. Even if there are public schools offering senior high education, the slots are very limited. Under K to 12, basic education is further privatized and commercialized,” Gupit said.
He stressed that about 700 thousand to 1 million students will be forced to enroll in private high schools with matriculation costs of 22,500 to more than 100,000 pesos. Gupit noted that K to 12 will lead to more drop-out and out-of-school-youth.
“On top of matriculation costs, students and parents will need a total of 100 thousand pesos to more than 200 thousand pesos for the education expenses in the additional two years. This includes food and transportation that will cost 30,000 to 60,000 pesos; notebooks and other school supplies will cost 4,500 to 10,000 pesos; modules, uniforms, ID, and other miscellaneous fees will cost 6,000 to 15,000 pesos; and required tools and equipment for their particular tracks will cost 12,000 up to 25,000 pesos,” said Gupit.
The youth leader noted that with K to 12, no money means no education and no future. He stressed that the right to free public education is being curtailed by this program.
“Lastly, with the Aquino regime’s adamant implementation of K to 12, the shortages will only add up to the current unresolved deficiencies in classrooms, chairs, teachers, books, and many more,” Gupit added.
“To President Duterte, these are only some of the reasons why we should stop K to 12. Different student groups will be more than willing to discuss this further and show the negative impacts of these to our youth and nation,” said Gupit.
The youth leader challenged Duterte to stand by his pronouncements during the electoral campaign period. He reminded the next president that he won because of the people are yearning for change from Aquino’s tuwid na daan. Gupit urged Duterte to knock over the K to 12 program implemented by the previous regime as a step towards change and progress.
“President Duterte, you stood against K to 12 in your previous statements during the campaign period. You even told in an interview that it is not too late to stop the program and you are not a fan of mandatory addition of two years in high school. We hope that you will uphold these pronouncements,” said Gupit.
LFS is preparing for a nationwide protest to assert the stopping of K to 12. The group called to occupy all DepEd offices on May 26 to demonstrate the people’s demand against K to 12. ###