Militant youth group urges Duterte to scrap K to 12 program
Militant students from Kabataan party-list on Tuesday urged presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the implementation of the K to 12 program.
In a press conference, outgoing Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon and party-list first nominee Sarah Elago led the unveiling of a painting by graphic artist Ivan Reverente emblazoned with the words “Education is a right. Fight for it.”
The painting, which they plan to give to Duterte as a gift, was a cover for the University of the Philippines Diliman campus publication Philippine Collegian.
Ridon said he lauded Duterte for opening the possibility of reviewing the full implementation of the K to 12 program under his administration.
Duterte had asked for a month to review the education program.
“Compared to the present administration, mas maluwag ang espasyo para magpaliwanagan ([the incoming administration] is open for more dialogue),” Ridon said.
He added that it may be within Duterte’s powers as President to stop the implementation of Republic Act 10533 or “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, which extended the secondary education by two more years.
“If he orders the Department of Education to stop the implementation despite the law, I think it’s something he can do within his power,” Ridon said.
For her part, National Union of Students of the Philippines president Elago, the incoming Kabataan representative as its first nominee, also lauded Duterte for being open about scrapping the additional expenses for public school students, such as the use of school uniforms.
Elago said he hoped Duterte would veer away from the present administration’s policy of treating the education sector like business.
“Mr. President, kayo po ay sinasalubong ng mga kabataan, punong puno ng pag-asa sa inyong pangako na change is coming, na ang pagbabago na parating ay maka-kabataan, maka-mamamayan at makabayan,” Elago said.
(Mr. President, the youth is approaching you with full of hope on your promise that change is coming, that the looming change will be for the youth, citizens and country.)
She also urged Duterte to fight for free public school education at all levels.
League of Filipino Students secretary general Aries Gupit said the K to 12 program would lead to more dropouts, with 700,000 to one million students forced to go to private schools which offer senior high school.
He said only two of 10 schools in Metro Manila are public schools.
Under the K to 12 program, there will be one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary, and six years of secondary education (the latter includes four years of junior high and two years of senior high school).
During its first year of full implementation this year, the additional years of primary education displaced tertiary schools of incoming first year students for at least two years.
The program aims to make the country’s education system at par with other more developed countries, despite additional cost to families and problems on educational infrastructure. RAM/rga
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