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DepEd forms task force on employability issues of senior high graduates

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
DepEd forms task force on employability issues of senior high graduates
The task force will assess how the senior high school program can better prepare its graduates to meet labor market demands and explore partnerships to improve the work immersion component of the program, among others.
The STAR / Edd Gumban / File

MANILA, Philippines — As part of moves to address issues with the K to 12 curriculum, the Department of Education has issued a memorandum creating a task force to review the senior high school program and identify ways to improve graduates’ job prospects.

Citing several studies on companies’ reluctance to hire senior high graduates even for entry-level work, DepEd has issued Order No. 28 s. 2023 convening a task force that will conduct a one-year review to address issues with the program’s implementation.

The task force will assess how the senior high school program can better prepare its graduates to meet labor market demands and explore partnerships to improve the work immersion component of the program, among others.

In doing so, the DepEd body will review its existing programs and “gather and consolidate relevant data to the senior high school implementation.”

The task force will be headed by DepEd officials in charge of teaching and curriculum, as well as operations.

The memorandum cites the COVID-19 pandemic’s drastic impact on the economy, which has “put tremendous pressure on leaming outcomes, skills development, employment, and the economy.”

“As the nation strives for economic recovery and growth, it is becoming increasingly important for SHS graduates to have greater access to employment, entrepreneurship, advanced education, and training,” it noted.

Among other functions, the task force is mandated to coordinate with state universities and colleges, public and private schools and DepEd field offices in developing a nationwide senior high database that includes policies, program offerings, and private school data.

It will also pursue advocacy and information campaigns to promote the senior high school program.  

The senior high school national task force will submit a report on its accomplishments and outputs to the DepEd secretary by May 12, 2024.

This comes after Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is a close administration ally, filed a House bill reverting the current K to 12 cycle to “K+10+2,” essentially returning high school back to four years. 

Under Arroyo’s bill, Grades 11 and 12 will be converted into a pre-university education type of learning system mandatory only for those proceeding to college.

RELATED: Arroyo bill: 4 years of high school, 2 more years to get into college  

While it is unclear whether Vice President Sara Duterte — she is also DepEd secretary — supports Arroyo’s measure, Arroyo previously said that she filed the bill after consultations with Duterte and President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

During DepEd’s first Basic Education Report in January, Duterte vowed that the department is still keeping to its promise of creating job-ready senior high graduates.

DepEd’s own tracer study of senior high graduates has found that only one out of ten went on to gain employment, while around eight out of ten proceeded to tertiary education.

A study by the Philippine Business for Education, an education-focused advocacy group from the private sector, found that out of the 70 leading companies across all sectors in the Philippines, only 20% were willing to accept senior high school graduates. 

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