DepEd in 2015?
At the onset of the debut of the Senior High School (SHS) component of K-to-12 this school year, teachers’ network Educators Forum for Development (EfD) said that the government should acknowledge the low turnout of SHS enrollees. This should prompt a thorough review of the education reform program, EfD said.
The Department of Education (DepEd) said that so far, the turnout of SHS enrolment is at 1.1 million Grade 11 enrollees. According to DepEd, 700-800,000 enrolled in 6,002 public schools with SHS, while some 300-400,000 enrolled in 5,031 SHS in private facilities. The department said that the enrolment count is higher than that under the 10-year education cycle. DepEd also said that government’s provision of vouchers for public school finishers who opted to enrol in private schools offering SHS was a big help.
The EfD however said that DepEd should be consistent in reporting on completers and enrollees and acknowledge that possibly around 1.4 million Filipino youth have opted to drop out. According to youth and student groups, the DepEd in its recent reports has reduced to 1.5 million its original estimate of 2.5 million projected Grade 11 enrollees.
Amid persistent poverty, the low enrolment turnout is not new to Philippine experience, the group said. A UN Development Report shows that in the 10-year basic education program, of 10 students who enter Grade 1, only 7 complete elementary school, of which only 4 graduate from high school. Of this, only 2 get to enter college, of which only 1 will get a degree. The same report affirms that students drop out of school due to poverty as their families find it difficult to pay for other education expenses even with free tuition.
The increasing commercialization of Philippine education continues to hinder the Filipino youth, especially the poor, from going to school. According to EfD, K-to-12 compounds this predicament, adding two years of financial burden to families beside insufficient infrastructure, manpower and a problematic curriculum. Through the SHS Voucher Program, public funds are used to pay private institutions to accommodate students that cannot be accommodated by public schools for lack of capacity for SHS. Moreover, K-to-12 reinforces the education system’s flawed orientation of developing skilled manpower to serve the global market
A review of the Aquino administration’s education reform program is very much in order, EfD said. With K-to-12, the Philippine education system is increasingly run for profit and geared to ultimately serve corporate interests. If education reforms are to be pursued, it must be to unconditionally develop the Filipino youth as the future drivers of genuinely inclusive economic growth in their own country and not merely as the manpower behind big businesses and global profit-seekers, said the group.
Educators Forum for Development is a network of more than 100 teachers nationwide advocating
transformative education. (IBON)