Incoming DepEd chief backs K-12 program

Arnell Ozaeta - The Philippine Star

BATANGAS, Philippines – If he gets appointed as the next education secretary, Lyceum of the Philippines University president Peter Laurel said he would support the K-12 program.

Laurel’s name is in the shortlist of candidates for the position of Department of Education (DepEd) chief under the administration of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.

“We’re the last in Asia. In the world, I think, Angola (and) the Philippines still remain in the 10-year program. I think we have to be more internationally competitive,” he said in a phone interview.

He added he has not talked yet with Duterte regarding his possible appointment. “I’m studying it and consulting my family and loved ones, ” Laurel said.

In his private capacity, Laurel stressed he is already supporting the program.

He called the K-12 as one of the biggest reforms in education in the country since the creation of DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education.

Militant youth groups have urged Duterte to scrap the K-12 program. The incoming president said he wanted to be given at least a month to review it.

In a press conference in Davao City last Monday, Duterte said he would consult with Laurel on the K-12 program.

The incoming president had admitted he was not sold on the idea of adding two more years of schooling, but stressed he would listen to what Laurel would recommend.

Meanwhile, Laurel said that while there may be certain problems on the curriculum and budget, “it is a reform agenda that needs to be done.”

“I understand there are issues that people would like to look at and I think the mandate of the incoming president will be coming with some fresh perspective, drawing lessons from the past so we can march on to the future,” Laurel said.

He gave outgoing DepEd chief Bro. Armin Luistro a high score for managing the biggest bureaucracy. “He did very well,” Laurel said of Luistro.

“On the whole, I think the reform agenda of Brother Armin has been a strong one. They’ve done a lot of work but still, a lot of things need to be done,” Laurel pointed out.

A former vice governor of Batangas, Laurel is a son of former senator Sotero Laurel. He heads LPU’s Batangas and Laguna campuses while his brother Roberto runs LPU’s campuses in Manila, Makati and Cavite.

Duterte attended LPU in the late 1960s where Communist Party of the Philippines founder Joma Sison was one of his professors.

Greater autonomy

In Manila, CHED chairperson Patricia Licuanan said the agency is eyeing to deregulate and declare more private higher educational institutions (HEIs) in the country autonomous.          – With Janvic Mateo

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