News & Events

April 23, 2015

Solon backs parents' group's plan to question K to 12 before Supreme Court

A party-list lawmaker has thrown his support behind a parents’ group’s plan to stop the implementation of the controversial K-12 program that extends high school education by two years as he insisted that the Department of Education is still unprepared to roll out the initiative.

Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz said the Parents for Children’s Education (PACE) has the right to challenge Republic Act 10533, otherwise known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, before the Supreme Court.

The group claims parents were not consulted before the Enhanced Basic Education Act, which had to undergo the legislative process at both houses of Congress, was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III.

The legislative process includes public hearings to seek input from stakeholders.

“[The lack of consultation] can be a good basis for a challenge as the consultations before and after the enactment of the law were inadequate. More importantly, the commitments for the law’s proper implementation remain inadequate and incomplete,” he said in a text message.

PACE founding chair Rey Vargas told GMA News Online that parents were not asked for their opinion on the K-12 program when it was being deliberated in Congress even though they are considered as one of the primary stakeholders.

He said his group plans to attach a document containing 10,000 signatures of parents who oppose the program when they file the petition before the Supreme Court on April 20.

DepEd: Preparations are on track

With barely a year to go before the K-12 program is rolled out, Dela Cruz lamented that the DepEd has yet to fulfill satisfactorily the goals it had set to ensure students and teachers will not suffer with the addition of two more years to basic education.

“[There are goals] that remain unfulfilled [such as the addition] of new classrooms, teachers and instructional materials. Of course, there is also the issue regarding the thousands of tertiary education teachers who will be out of jobs for at least two years,” he said.

Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo earlier said that based on DepEd’s data, there is a shortage of 34,000 classrooms for incoming students during the first year of the K-12 implementation.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), meanwhile, estimates a total of 86,001 faculty members in private higher education institutions are at risk of being displaced when students start senior high school.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro has admitted there are still various areas for improvement in the agency’s preparation for the K-12 program but said it is on track to implement it next year.

Under RA 10533, a student will be required to undergo kindergarten, six years of elementary, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school. It will be rolled out in school year 2016-2017.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has previously expressed opposition to the K to 12 program, saying the extra two years in school might increase the number of students who drop out because their families cannot afford to send them to school.

He has said the DepEd sohuld focus on providing classrooms, teachers, and learning materials to improve the quality of education in the Philippines.

Vacant posts for teachers

In a separate statement, LPG-MA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty criticized the government for failing to fill almost 200,000 vacant government positions, the majority of which, he said, are most likely positions for public elementary and high school teachers. 

“We have tens of thousands of licensed teachers who are totally jobless,” Ty said. “In fact, some of these registered teachers have become so desperate, they’ve been driven to work in private schools for as low as P7,000 per month.”

A report released by the Department of Budget and Management showed the number of unoccupied positions in various government agencies has risen by 22 percent to 188,388 in 2014 from 154,019 the previous year. 

Ty urged the DBM, Department of Labor and Employment, Civil Service Commission and other agencies concerned to work closely with one another closer to fill the vacant positions in the government. — JDS, GMA News

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