Where do K-12 graduates go? Briones unsure, says research still pending
MANILA, Philippines — Education Secretary Leonor Briones was unsure of where K to 12 graduates go, saying Tuesday that the Department of Education (DepEd) has yet to conduct a tracer study on the graduates of the program.
At the budget briefing of DepEd before the House appropriations panel, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago asked Briones of any data on where K to 12 graduates go after finishing the 13-year program.
“On the matter of where the students go, we are starting research on that,” Briones responded.
The DepEd Secretary was quick to claim that based on her visits to schools nationwide, the K to 12 program, in terms of objectives, “probably” has “satisfactory impact.”
“But I know, because I have attended many graduation exercises, and I have visited schools all over the country. For example, in tech-voc [technical-vocational] very much higher ang level ng hiring than we anticipated because of the in-service training program which is the so-called immersion program,” Briones explained.
“Insofar as the fulfillment of the objectives [of K to 12] are concerned, probably we have [a] satisfactory impact. But the important thing, as I said, we are concentrating not just on access but also quality,” she added.
DepEd is now negotiating with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on the possibility of allowing K to 12 graduates to join the government, Briones further said.
“They can do many tasks in government. Sa vocational naman they are not yet graduates, but they can start working… but we have to validate all these,” she said.
In its official Twitter account, DepEd said they are “setting up a system so we will know how many of our graduates pursue higher education, employment, middle-skills training, and entrepreneurship.”
According to the Official Gazette, the K to 12 Program under Republic Act No. 10533 of 2013, covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School [SHS]).
It also seeks to “provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.”
The program’s implementation gradually started in 2013 and its first batch of graduates finished SHS in March 2018.
In April 2018, JobStreet Philippines revealed a study that only 24 percent of employers in the country were willing to hire graduates of K to 12, citing that college degree holders remain a priority. The report also said 35 percent of employers did not want to hire K to 12 graduates because they are unqualified or have insufficient work experience.
DepEd’s proposed budget for 2020 is P551.72 billion, a 3.79 percent increase from the agency’s P531.57 billion 2019 budget. Briones said their original budget proposal to the Department of Budget and Management for 2020 was P804.836 billion. /jpv
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