Solon complains about dismal K-12 education system

Citing an urgent need to overhaul the K-12 education system, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian joined the growing clamor for education reforms amid “growing dissatisfaction with the actual configuration”.

The senator stressed, “The growing dissatisfaction with the K-12 system demands an urgent review and reform.”

Gatchalian, in a press release, cited a Pulse Asia survey conducted June 24-27 of 1,200 respondents that found 44% of adult respondents are dissatisfied with the program. He pointed out, “That’s 16 percentage points higher than the results of a September 2019 survey showing that only 28% of respondents were dissatisfied with the K-to-12 system.”

The June survey commissioned by Gatchalian also noted an 11 percentage point drop in satisfaction with the K-12 program compared to a similar survey conducted in September 2019. This, while 50% of respondents to the September 2019 survey were satisfied. with the program, with only 39 percent of survey respondents saying they are satisfied.

By tabling Senate Resolution No. 5, Gatchalian paved the way for a Senate inquiry into the status of implementation of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 or the Kindergarten to Kindergarten Act. Grade 12 (Republic Act 10533) – exactly 10 years after the time the enhanced K-12 curriculum was originally implemented in the 2012-2013 school year.

The proposed revision is one of Gatchalian’s priority actions for the 19th Congress as a centerpiece of the senator’s commitments to Filipino voters during their Senate campaign.

Additionally, the senator commissioned a Pulse Asia survey in December 2019, which highlighted that among those dissatisfied with the K-12 curriculum, the added financial burden was the top reason for dissatisfaction (78 %).

Gatchalian acknowledged that people’s voices were clear: “They’re not happy with the K-12 curriculum.” “Malinaw in boses ng kababayan na hindi sila kuntento in programa ng K-12,” he said, noting that this was “due to broken promises and the added burden placed on students and their parents.”

He recalled that it was also shown in a 2020 working paper by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies that while the K-12 curriculum promises to boost the employability of graduate graduates (SHS), only slightly more than 20% of SHS graduates entered the labor force while 70% continue their studies.

The same working paper adds that historically, young Filipinos or those between the ages of 15 and 24 have the lowest rates of labor force participation in the ASEAN region. For example, 70% of young Vietnamese are in the labor force, but only less than 60% of their Filipino counterparts are in the labor force.

Stressing the need for a thorough evaluation of the implementation of the K-12 curriculum, the senator suggested that this was to “ensure that goals are being met to deliver quality education and promote competitiveness among young people”.

Janice G. Ball