Benjie Oliveros | What is Wrong With K+12 Education Program?

Second, this would worsen dropout rates. Kabataan Partylist estimates that a family spends around P20,000 ($463) per student per year for food, transportation fare, school bags and supplies, and expenses for school projects. Two more years of basic education, therefore, would amount to an additional P40,000 ($926) expenditure. With the high poverty and unemployment rates, and the low wages in the country, this would really result in higher dropout rates. The P1,400 ($32) conditional cash grant (CCT) being distributed by the government might help in buying school bags and supplies at the start of the schoolyear but it would not suffice for sustaining the expenses for the whole year, assuming that all of it is allotted to the education of one child. And it would last only for the duration of the CCT program. What about the need to augment the family income? A lot of children from poor families quit school to work to help augment the family income.

Worse, what the government is not revealing is that the plan to add two more years in basic education is part of a bigger design. Basic education would be ‘strenghtened’ to the detriment of the poor’s access to tertiary education. Already, the budget for education has been increased, but the budget for state colleges and universities has been substantially reduced. This would force state colleges and universities to increase their tuition and other fees. It would, in turn, embolden private colleges and universities to increase their tuition and other fees more.

Tertiary education would then be a privilege of the rich, plus a few from the middle class who would dare to contract loans, and the much fewer exceptionally bright and athletically-gifted students from poor families. This is even worse than the policy implemented during Martial Law when those who did not pass the National Collegiate Entrance Examinations (NCEE) were not allowed to enter colleges and universities and were relegated to taking up two-year vocational courses. At least, the students then would have other chances to enter college once they passed the NCEE.

Given a highly improbable ideal situation of a sufficient education budget, the addition of two more years would enable the country’s basic education graduates to keep pace with our neighbors. But have you ever wondered why a lot of students from neighboring countries are flocking here to study in our state colleges and universities? Even in the US and in European countries that have heavily privatized government services, tertiary education is a privilege of a few while the majority who finish 12 years of basic education end up in low-paid manual jobs. A great political economist once said that the purpose of the public school system is to reproduce the working class.

The objective of this grand plan is to align the public school system to the need to produce and sell cheap, skilled labor locally and internationally.

But has the government considered that with the worsening unemployment situation, the country has already been producing and selling cheap, skilled labor who are trained in ten years of basic education plus four years of tertiary education? The country’s few wage and salary employees and workers who are mostly college graduates or have completed one to two years of college are in assembly plants, small manufacturing industries, commercial and service establishments, local and foreign vessels, call centers and other outsourced business processes, or work in companies abroad. By adding two more years in basic education while depriving the majority of four years of tertiary education, the country’s workforce would even be less educated. But that is not the point. The point is, the right to equal access to education should be applicable from the primary up to the tertiary levels. And this is not the intention of the Aquino government with its K+12 –4 (of tertiary education) program. (

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  1. The progression of the education system starting with the basic K-12 system then progressing through post-secondary education. K-14 refers to K-12 plus 2 years of post-secondary where training was received from vocational technical institutions or comminuty or junior colleges. The K numbers refer to the years of educational attainment and continues to progress upward accordingly depending on the degree being sought.;.”`

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  3. we have 12 classrooms in the school where i teach, and "ONLY" eight hundred plus are enrolled there… so can you imagine how we are able to manage each class with that number of enrollment? through emergency classes… grades two to four are having emergency classes to sustain the children with the education they need… but we are still crowded of 45 to 65 pupils in spite of that setup… especially in grade one, the ideal is 35 pupils per class.. because it is the foundation… i am not complaining about that k-12 program… but basically, i agree that it is not the solution to the problem in our education… it is very easy for them to make such "change" because they do not really know what is in "REALITY".. we have shortages in classrooms, teachers, learning materials, and facilities.. that is the problem, BUDGET! another 2 years would mean we'll be confronting another MAJOR-MAJOR burden on how we could provide our pupils the QUALITY EDUCATION they need..

    nakakalungkot isipin na grade one na nga lang madami pang hindi nakakatapos sa barangay na 'yon, pa'no pa kaya ngayon? mas lalong lalaki ang bilang ng mga taong lalaking mangmang…

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