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Opinion

EDITORIAL - The mounting problems of the K to 12 program

The Freeman

So, Cebu province needs some 600 new classrooms by 2016 to accommodate students who, because of the implementation of K to 12, will be going on to Grades 11 and 12 instead of going on to college. At the same time, Cebu will also be needing more than a thousand additional teachers to handle the two new grade levels added to the basic education curriculum.

And that is just for Cebu. The same need, or problem, will be replicated in all the other 80 provinces in the Philippines. And that is not counting the other schools in the highly urbanized cities which do not fall under the usual provincial division of schools. And that is not counting as well the same problem that will be facing the private schools.

On the other hand, while high schools will be facing classroom and teacher shortages when the K to 12 program fully kicks in by 2016, colleges and universities will also be facing related but totally different problems. Colleges and universities will not be having any students at all for two full years because those who are supposed to graduate from fourth year high school or Grade 10 in 2016 and 2017 will be going on to Grades 11 and 12 because of the additional two years.

And while high schools will be suffering from a lack of teachers, colleges and universities will be suffering the presence of teachers who will have nobody to teach for two years. These teachers can't be made to teach high school because they had a different training and their licenses specifically limit their qualifications to the courses they took while in school. Most, if not all, of them will find themselves jobless.

And that is not all. There are also the non-teaching personnel in the colleges and universities who will similarly find themselves also with nothing to do. They will also end up jobless as well. In fact, one private university in Cebu has already started letting go of some of these non-teaching personnel, resulting in a labor row that can spread like wildfire to the other colleges and universities by 2016.

So why are we facing these very serious problems in the face? We are facing these problems because the government insisted on implementing the K to 12 program even if the country is not prepared and ready for it. What drove the government to relentlessly pursue the program is the dream of being at par with the rest of the world whose basic education curriculum counts 12 years. It has been mesmerized by the end without considering the infirmity of the means to get there.

We have no objections to having a 12-year basic education curriculum. We adhere to the belief that all education is good. What we object to is the lack of preparation and readiness. Such lack will render useless the best of intentions that went into the dream. For us, even if we make basic education 20 years, it still will not amount to anything is the implementation crumbles because of its being half-cooked. In the end, we will all get indigestion.

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