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Educators’ summit: K to 12 concerns, jobs for graduates

/ 12:03 AM August 05, 2014

The 2014 Philippine Higher Education Presidents’ Summit will be held on Aug. 15 at the SMX Convention Center in a bid to unify a divided higher

education sector.

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The summit, to be attended by presidents of universities and colleges nationwide, will focus on concerns over the transition of graduates from the academe to the labor force.

Chito Salazar, Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) president, said at a recent press conference that the summit “will bring together the country’s post-secondary education sector, which has historically been fragmented along ownership lines.”

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He said the highlight of the summit would be the ratification of the Manila Declaration on Higher Education that would include recommendations on reforms on linkages between the academe and industry, government support or funding for post-secondary education, rationalization and development of research and science and technology, governance of the Philippine tertiary education and faculty development and quality graduate programs.

A Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) report in May 2013 said that in 2012, the unemployment rate for people aged 15-30 stood at 16 percent, or 2.04 million. Of the unemployed, 34.8 percent finished college.

A particular concern among higher education institutions, the PBEd said, was the implementation of the K to 12 basic education program, which would be discussed in the summit.

While there were issues over the change in curriculum and the zero new college enrollment with the start of senior high school (Grades 11 and 12) in 2016, higher learning institutions maintained that deferring the K to 12 program implementation would be “counterproductive.”

Dorris Ferrer of Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines said issues affecting higher education institutions (HEIs) “will not be resolved by deferment and their solution will only be delayed.”

Joseph Noel Estrada of the Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (Papscu) said the implementation of the K to 12 program started in 2012. He expressed doubt that it was even legally possible to have it deferred and added that “it is impractical to just stop everything at this point.”

Estrada said HEIs were given the option by the Department of Education to offer senior high school to cushion the impact of the lack of new college enrollees in the academic years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.

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Papscu president Jose Paulo Campos said through the summit that “if the higher education sector speaks as one, it will be in a better position to develop and advocate proactive reforms in Philippine education.”

HEIs also expressed the hope that with the summit, “a relevant, responsive and high-quality sector” would be established.

The 2013 DOLE report said that “by 2015, the total number of young Filipinos is expected to rise to 61 million; 28 million will be of working age, further boosting the supply of young people in the labor market.”

Citing an Asian Development Bank household survey, the DOLE said fresh college graduates failed to land jobs due to lack of experience and relevant skills.

It added, “The young person’s behavior toward job searching and his family social network, as well as minimum wage, severance regulations and restrictions on employment arrangements, are also considered to slow down school-to-work transition.”

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TAGS: Education, K to 12, Learning, Philippine higher education president’s summit
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