More than a hundred students, teachers, and parents under the Sugbuanon Batok K-12 alliance greeted the opening of classes June 1 with a picket protest against the Aquino government’s K-12 program in front of the Cebu City Central School.
Anakbayan Vice Chair for Visayas Niño Olayvar, one of the convenors of Sugbuanon Batok K-12, said that the K-12 program is another burden for Filipino families who will suffer from two more years of additional expenses and end up deeper in poverty.
“K-12 means additional two years of being burdened with tuition and other school fees. K-12 means parents paying two more years of added expenses for their children’s transportation, food, books, school supplies, uniforms, and other school-related costs,” said Olayvar.
He added that the K-12 is a “privatized” program will push tuition and other school fees higher and result in more students going out of school.
Olayvar cited Department of Education statements which say that only 3,839 of the 7,976 or only 48 percent of all public high schools have submitted proposals for K-12 funding, with DepEd only aiming to accommodate 800,000 to 1.1 million of the 2.2 million students now taking up 4th year for senior high.
“One million students who will take up senior high next year have no choice but to enroll in private schools where they will be made to pay higher tuition and other fees or drop-out,” said Olayvar.
DepEd also recently approved the increase in tuition of 1,200 private schools in the country, with tuition rates increasing by as much as 29 percent.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Cebu President Antonia Lim, another Sugbuanon Batok K-12 convenor, meanwhile said that pushing through with the K-12 given the lack of school facilities, classrooms, and teachers will only worsen the already bad state of the country’s education.
A recent DepEd report showed that there are basic education shortages of 210,000 classrooms, 114,304 teachers, 2 million sanitation facilities, and 60 million textbooks.
Anakbayan’s Olayvar also pointed out that the K-12 program’s main aim is to produce more “cheap labor” that will be exported abroad or exploited by foreign capitalists at home.
He said this will only create a larger number of Filipino youth competing for scarce jobs, thereby resulting to higher unemployment rates and lower wages.
The Sugbuanon Batok K-12 and its member organizations are set to hold more protests and activities against Aquino’s K-12 program in the coming days.