Marcos wants K-12 ‘recalibrated’ to boost employment | Inquirer News

Marcos wants K-12 ‘recalibrated’ to boost employment

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:50 AM July 25, 2023

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his second state of the nation address at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Philippines on Monday, July 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his second state of the nation address at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Philippines on Monday, July 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Philippines — The creation of more jobs, refocusing of health priorities, and “recalibration” of the K-12 curriculum were among the government priorities outlined by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.

Despite the employment rate rising to 95.7 percent as of May, the President said the government “must do more” by generating jobs for the remaining 4.3 percent of the workforce, as well as for the 11.7 percent underemployed Filipinos.


Toward this, the government has also utilized international partnerships and agreements to promote investments and boost employment, he said, adding that his foreign trips yielded an estimated total investment value of $71 billion or P3.9 trillion with a potential to generate 175,000 jobs.


For overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the President pledged to continue engaging host countries and the international community to ensure a safe working environment for OFWs.

He said that several countries have signified their interest to explore bilateral labor cooperation with the Philippines in the areas of health care, tourism, hospitality, engineering, construction, and information technology.

“Our priority is to ensure that the principles of ethical recruitment, fair employment, and the safe and orderly migration of our people, are embodied in our agreements with other countries,” Marcos stressed.

He added that the continued employment of some 50,000 workers and the deployment of many more Filipino seafarers aboard European Union vessels have also been assured.

“The lesson for us all is that our education and skills must always be attuned to the high, exacting, and constantly evolving global standards,” he said.

Learning recovery a priority

In the area of education, the President lauded the efforts of Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, saying she was “helping ensure that every young Filipino [would] get a proper and quality education.”


“We have renewed hope in giving the best to our next batches of students, especially the 28.4 million learners who returned to school this year. Learning recovery will be at the forefront of our education agenda,” he said. “Everything begins with education. This is to strengthen the mind and skills of every Filipino.”

According to him, tertiary education in state universities and colleges would remain free for qualified students as he reported that out of the 4.1 million enrolled college students last year, nearly 50 percent were beneficiaries of the country’s free higher education under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education program.

The government was also augmenting the school workforce, with 90 percent of the newly created teaching positions filled, and additional administrative personnel hired to unburden teachers.

“Learners will be made more resilient. Our public schools and facilities are being increased and fortified,” he said, adding that the shortage of classrooms and facilities was being addressed and the existing ones were being retrofitted to become “ready for the future — ready for hybrid and high-tech learning, and also climate-ready and disaster-proof.”

The K-12 curriculum was also being “recalibrated” to ensure that it would always be relevant, responsive, and at par with international standards, the President said in his Sona.

In the field of health, Marcos said the government was refocusing its priorities, applying the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and addressing the weaknesses it exposed.

According to him, the healthcare system is currently undergoing “structural enhancements” through the increase of public health facilities, both in number and in capability.

“Healthier communities and lifestyles are our advocacy,” Marcos said, mentioning ongoing projects such as the Food Stamp Program, vaccination drive for children, and the battle against tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Meanwhile, price controls and VAT exemptions would be continued to lower the retail prices of medicines for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and mental illness.

To address the current shortage of healthcare professionals and achieve the goal of universal healthcare, he said the government was expanding its medical and nursing education programs and helping nursing graduates pass their board exams.

On climate change, the President said the Philippines remains committed to global decarbonization goals and the reduction of its carbon footprint.

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“We have adopted the concept of the ‘circular economy’ using nature as our model. The aim is to keep raw materials in a closed loop. In our world with scarce resources, the circular economy allows us to fully use these resources, minimize waste and reduce the need for new resources — as it is in nature,” he said.


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TAGS: Department of Education, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 2023 State of the Nation Address, K-12 program

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