MANILA, Philippines — Senator Alan Peter Cayetano expressed concern over the K-12 program, saying that it could increase the dropout rate of students and that it might be better to improve schools’ facilities for a more complete learning experience.
“Currently, 36 percent [of students] drop out after elementary and only 44 percent graduate high school,” Cayetano told reporters Thursday after his ethics committee hearing.
The graduation rate might decrease to 35 percent because of the addition of two more years, he said.
The Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2012, or K-12 education program, seeks to add two years in high school that will enable students to learn specialized courses on business and entrepreneurship, humanities and arts, technical-vocational courses, or academics. It was recently passed in the House of Representatives Monday.
Philippines is reportedly the only one in Asia, and one of three nations worldwide, with 10 years of basic education. The K-12 program seeks to improve that to comply with international standards.
Parents however were wary of the program because it would mean two additional years of paying for their child’s tuition.
Cayetano also pointed out that the length of years a student stays in college was not necessarily reflective of the education that they receive. He cited the Philippine Science High School which he said was better than other schools. “It’s not because they have longer years but because of better facilities, better teachers and more funding,” Cayetano said.
“The question is: would we rather have just grades 1-6 [for elementray] and years 1-4 for high school [but] with all facilities complete or two more years with inadequate facilities?” he asked.
Cayetano however clarified that was fully supportive of the government’s aim to improve the quality of education in the country.
“I’m fully supportive of the government. They gave 20 percent more budget to the Department of Education (DepEd) which has never been done by any other administration. However, I have a disagreement with the approach,” he said.
Cayetano suggested that, since the DepEd mentioned in a presentation that the most important learning age for a child was from 0-6 years old, maybe the two years could be added to kindergarten instead of in high school.
He also said that the learning experience could be improved by providing better facilities and increasing the wages of teachers.
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