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Palace: Let Congress decide on K-12

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang will leave it to the House of Representatives to review the effectiveness of the K-12 education program.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo stressed that it would still be up to Congress to decide on the implementation of the K-12 program, amid concerns that it was not living up to its promises.

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“We will leave it to the wisdom of Congress,” said Panelo when asked to comment on Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s remarks that the House would take a second look at the program.

Over the weekend, Cayetano noted that there were many issues in the K-12 program, which gave students the option to enroll in vocational and technical subjects to prepare them for future employment.

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DepEd welcomes review

The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Monday that it welcomed a review of the K-12 basic education program after concerns were raised about its effectiveness.

Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said the DepEd was looking forward to a review of its flagship program, which he said would allow the DepEd “to provide its status, identify the gains and challenges and share the direction of its program and policies on K-12.”

“Congress and DepEd have worked closely together since the previous budget hearings to address the issues of the K-12 program,” the DepEd added in a separate statement. “A dedicated review session will provide an appropriate venue to comprehensively discuss concerns.”

The DepEd, however, did not appear worried that Congress might propose to scrap the program altogether after a review, saying it would work with House members to craft solutions.

“With an additional P650 million in the proposed 2020 budget specifically for the improvement of the 12-year basic education program, DepEd commits to coordinate and collaborate with members of Congress in strategizing effective implementation of the program,” the DepEd said.

The DepEd did not respond directly to Cayetano’s worries that K-12 program was “not living up to its promise.”

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Cayetano had also raised questions about whether or not the program was accomplishing its goal of equipping senior high school students to be employed regardless of whether or not they pursued a college degree after high school.

In recent years, the DepEd has received increases in its annual budget due to the funding requirements of the K-12 program, which was first implemented in 2012.

Too early to judge

For 2020, the DepEd may receive P551.7 billion, or P20.2 billion higher than this year’s P531.5 billion allocation. This is apart from the P850 million additional funding from the House, of which P650 million will go to the improvement of the K-12.

Some proponents said it was still too early to judge the effectivity of the additional two years of senior high school, while some lawmakers have expressed concern over the declining performance of high school graduates in national achievement tests.

Some parents have also complained that the K-12 program only added two years of educational expenses without guaranteeing that the program would make students better prepared for the future.

In some of his speeches, President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that even his youngest daughter, Veronica “Kitty” Duterte, had also complained about the K-12 program, which is now the globally recognized standard for basic education.

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TAGS: DepEd, K-12 program, Salvador Panelo
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